Mom's Turkey Sandwiches

So a tradition, well THE Thanksgiving tradition at our house growing up was always to have Thanksgiving lunch and then make turkey sandwiches for dinner with leftover turkey.  I think these started when my mom was a kid but it is has been a yearly treat for us.  Seriously, it is not Thanksgiving to me if there are not turkey sandwiches at some point.  It is a little weird, I am aware, but that is our family tradition.  I have introduced our little leftover idea to a few of my friends now and they are always surprised at how good these simple sandwiches are.  So anyways, here is the super easy, very yummy recipe for Mom's Turkey Sandwiches.

You will need:
  • Shredded turkey
  • Hamburger Buns
  • American Cheese
  • Finely chopped onion (optional)
  • Celery (optional)
  • Tin Foil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Shred your leftover turkey into smaller pieces.  You can chop it up but we have always just shredded it with our hands.  (Just the way grandma did it, then mom, now me)  I kept light meat and dark meat separate for those who are picky.


Next, grab a hamburger bun and pile on some shredded turkey, my personal favorite are Aunt Hattie's Potato Buns.  My family always added celery too but i am not a big fan so Jason and I chopped up some onion and threw in a little of that for extra flavor.


Now, throw on a slice of good 'ol American Cheese.


Place each sandwich on a piece of tin foil, big enough to wrap your sandwich in.


Toss all of your sandwiches into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.


When you open them up they will be delicious, toasty little treats all for you!  My mom's favorite part was to peel off the toasty, cheese that sometimes sticks to the tin foil.




So for the second year in a row we had a "Friendsgiving" at our house the night before Thanksgiving.  A lot of our friends have to work on the holidays or have family out of town they may not be able to see so we have our friends over for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  It was super fun last year and I think it was even better this year!  We provide the turkey and beer and then invited our friends and asked them to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish.  Man alive our friends can cook!   Our house was packed with about 20 of our friends and it was wonderful.


I bought a 29lb. turkey from Frys and started cooking that sucker about a week in advance.  (Actually it only took about 6 hours but that bird was HUGE. I will post the recipe for that soon)  

Yes, that turkey is dominating my cookie sheet.

I had to buy a new XL roasting pan

I also tried two recipes from Our Best Bites, their Turkey Cupcakes and their Candied Coconut Sweet Potatoes.  The sweet potatoes turned out to be SO good and how cute are these cupcakes?!?!?

We had so much food, I mean look at this FEAST!

So many friends helped out, I hope I don't miss anyone...

Brad brought a great green bean casserole
Nord brought rolls
Jessica brought herb rolls
Adrianne brought dessert for everyone (two desserts and homemade whipped cream, are you kidding me?!)
Garett brought wine, pie, and an extra table and chairs
Steve brought a caprese salad for everyone to snack on while we finished turkey
Ruben brought his awesome stuffing and carved the turkey
Teresa brought mashed potatoes and made the gravy for me (thank you!)
The Duncans, Ben, Spencer, Sam and I am sure other people brought booze to share (a much needed treat)
And a HUGE thank you to Jessica, Britney and Sam who cleaned my kitchen after, you are BRAVE women

Here are some more pictures from the night:

The night was so much fun and I was so impressed by how much our friends pitch in, including Jeremy emptying the garbage before it toppled over.  It was great just hanging out and enjoying a wonderful dinner all together.  Thanks again and we will continue the tradition next year!

Fireplace Remodel

Jason and I have been prepping for the holidays and finishing up some much needed projects around our house.  Our fireplace was one of the last big eyesores and I am so happy we have finally gotten around to replacing it!

I started researching mantels and fireplace surrounds looking for designs I liked or a cheap All-in-One kit.  After realizing that I didn't like any of them, I begged Jason to build me one.  He kept thinking that I would come up with some crazy design but it was the exact opposite, I just wanted something simple and clean looking.  After a few "discussion" (we sometimes butt heads during projects) we finally figured out the best way to achieve the look we wanted.  We decided to build the mantle out of MDF because it is cheap, came already primed and would be very easy to paint.  We originally wanted to use leftover tile we had for the surround but opted to buy some similar tile in a smaller pattern. 

This project turned out to be easier than I thought (which doesn't usually happen) and I LOVE the end result!!!

(Sorry, totally forgot to take a before pic.  This is from last Christmas, please also ignore the terribly dirty mirror)


Here's how we did it:

First we ripped the old tile off the wall, make sure to put down some cardboard or something to protect your current floors from falling tile.  We learned that breaking the tile apart with a hammer caused less damage to the wall behind it rather than trying to pry the old tile off the wall.  Unfortunately we didn't learn that until we had already destroyed a nice chunk of the wall... oops.  We also pried the old mantle off the wall.

Jason then cut off the damaged dry wall and replaced with cement board.  He patched the holes left from the old mantle and we let that dry.

Jason built the new mantle in four different pieces.  Two legs, one bridge and one shelf.  All of these pieces were three sided boxes, kind of resembling [.  He attached the two legs and the bridge together and we "dry fit" them on the wall so I could make sure I had the correct measurements for the tile.  While he went to finish the "shelf" (top part of the mantle where I will put pretty things) I started on the tile... yup, I did the tile work!  This was my first ever solo tile project.

I learned that you start with the top section of your tile but you must hang a ledger board to support everything.  Start in the middle and work your way out.  I let it set for about an hour and then began on the rest.

You are supposed to use another ledger board for the bottom as well but I cheated and just tiled from the bottom up.  You let that dry for 24 - 48 hours and then grout.

Jason finished building the top part of the mantle.  He then filled any nail holes with wood putty, sanded everything until it was super smooth and then painted it all white.  When it was all dry, we attached the bottom half of the mantle using liquid nails, I love that stuff.  I grouted the tile after that part was attached.  (Already a HUGE improvement from what we had before)

We then screwed a 2x4 to the wall, making sure it was attached to the studs, and set the upper most part of the mantle on top of that.  We screwed the top of the mantle into the 2x4 essentially attaching the mantle to the wall studs giving it lots of support.  (If you are noticing that the top part is no longer white, the mantle may have fallen off the table while Jason was painting causing us to resand the entire top piece and then repaint)

We then finished touch up paint, hung our mirror, and ta-da... beautiful new fireplace!  We finished the entire project for less than $250 including the rental of a tile saw and nail gun.


Thoughts?!?!  (Besides the fact that the mirror is still not clean)


Christmas Cards

So sweet Adrianne over at www.DreamBookDesign.com told me about this great deal from Shutterfly.  You post a blog about their new 2010 Christmas cards and BOOM - 50 Free Christmas cards for yourself. (Um.... OK!) 

I have used Shutterfly in the past for their great picture books and also to print a bunch of our wedding pictures because of their incredible pricing.  Jason and I have also been talking about sending out a Christmas card for awhile and what better time to start then now?!?   I went over to their website to check out their new designs and was super impressed.  They have so many different options it is going to be tough to choose.  They have holiday cards, photo Christmas cards, Calendars (which would make great presents) and so much more.  Their website is very user friendly and all of the products I have gotten in the past have been great quality items.  I can’t wait to see how my Christmas cards turn out.  J

Here are some of my favorite cards so far:

Anyways, there are hundreds more to look through these were just my front runners.  Want to join in on the fun?  Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… apply here: http://bit.ly/sfly2010


Easy Grilled Potatoes

I am realizing day by day that taking pictures of food is pretty challenging.  That being said, these potatoes taste better than what my picture shows, I promise!  These are super easy, delicious potatoes and we make them almost anytime we are using the BBQ.  They are crispy on the outside, buttery, salty, garlicy and perfect on the inside!  Yum. 

You will need:
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Garlic Seasoning (Recipe)
  • Butter

Scrub your potatoes clean, I usually make 1 potato per person.  Next, chop those suckers into about 1/2" - 3/4" sections.


Boil for 5 minutes.  You are not trying to cook them all the way, just soften them up a little bit.  While those are boiling, melt a half stick of butter in the microwave.


Drain your potatoes and throw those bad boys on the grill.  Brush the top side with melted butter...


then Sprinkle with Garlic Seasoning

Flip your potatoes over and do the same thing on side #2.   Cook each side for about 5 minutes until they are crispy and golden brown.



Chicken Quesadillas

So here is a very easy, very cheap, recipe I used to make living in the dorms for awesome Chicken Quesadillas.  I am sure there are a million marinades to use, but this is great for those nights you don't actually feel like cooking.  
Anyways, start with these ingredients:
  • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 Packet Lawry's Taco Seasoning
  • Tomato - totally optional but a great addition
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Large Tortillas

Toss your cut up chicken into a skillet with a little oil so the chicken does not stick.  Cook on medium high until your chicken is cooked all the way through (no more pink chicken)


Add 1/2 packet Lawry's Taco Seasoning and 1/2 C water


Start warming one side of your tortillas and let your chicken simmer on low for about 5 minutes

Flip your tortillas, add desired amount of cheese (I love cheese) and Chicken (Jason loves chicken)


If you are feeling adventurous, throw some sliced tomato onto your tortilla as well, yummy!


Boom Done!  Cook until the tortilla is crispy and your cheese is melty.  SO EASY!




I typically make double the recipe because this chicken saves really well and is a great snack with some tortilla chips and Spicy Guacamole.



Pesto Pizza

One of Jason and my favorite meals is Pesto Pizza from Grimaldi's.  We used to go frequently during the summer because they have half off their bottle of wine (I love wine) but after experimenting a little I have learned to make it at home and save some $$$! 
First, start out by making this pesto.  I am lazy and don't toast the pine nuts and use WAY more garlic than they do but this is a great recipe and I love this blog.  Anyway...
You will need:
  • Pizza Crust
  • Pesto
  • Mozzarella Cheese (not the shredded kind)
  • Sliced Tomatoes
Preheat your oven to 425. 
Brush your pesto onto whatever pizza crust you choose (we use Boboli because it is good, easy to use, and you can get it cheap at Costco)  If you notice that the olive oil from your pesto is pooling in some places you will want to blot that with a paper towel, otherwise you will end up with soggy pizza.

Next, slice some tomatoes to add to your wonderful pizza and throw some fresh mozzarella on top.  I use mozzarella pearls so I don't have to worry about slicing the cheese.


Toss that sucker in your oven and bake for 20ish minutes.  When your house starts to smell delicious, the pizza is close to being done.  I sometimes like to throw the broiler on for the last minute or two to brown the cheese... this is what you end up with:


Is it inappropriate that my portion of pizza is bigger than my plate?  (I didn't think so either) 


 (This is the mozzarella I use)
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