I'll need a meat thermometer…

Well, the big day is almost here. No, not Halloween. Thanksgiving. The big Turkey day. My first away from home. I am very excited about the prospects of the up-and-coming holiday, and recently I had a conversation with Jeff that went something like this:

“Hey Jeff, I want to host Thanksgiving.” – me

“OK. Cool.” -Jeff

“Hey, I think Jen and I are going to host Thanksgiving.” – Becca, who just had walked in.

“Oh.” – me (Disappointed because I wanted to cook the turkey)

“But, can you do the turkey? Please?” – Becca

“Um, sure, no problem.” – me (Internally screaming YES OF COURSE)

But now I had a problem. I had to make a turkey. I’ve never so much as thought about roasting a bird. But my friend K can do it, so if she can, I can. Thus, I came up with a six week plan.

Week 1: October 19-25

*Research types of recipes for roasted turkey

Week 2: October 26-November 1

*Practice roasting a chicken

Week 3: November 2-8

*Practice on a small-sized turkey

Week 4: Nov 9-15

*Whittle away recipes, choose favorite 1

Week 5: Nov 16-22

*Whittle away recipes, choose favorite 1, buy ingredients

Week 6: Nov 22-27

*Discuss with Becca how her oven cooks, lay out final plan, purchase turkey


Now I know that might seem a little ridiculous, but I want my first turkey to be delicious. So I am going to practice. I’ve bought a chicken for this week, and last week looked at some recipes. However today, I was researching a bit more, and I found this:

Number of Diners: 12.
Turkey Size (including leftovers): 16 to 18 pounds.
Thawing Time (for a frozen turkey): Refrigerator, 3 1/2 to 4 days; cool water (changed every half hour), 8 to 9 hours.
Roasting Time (unstuffed): Roast at 425° F for 45 minutes. Cover with foil, reduce temperature to 350° F, and continue to roast until a thigh registers 180° F, 2 1/2 to 3 hours total.”

This sounds harder than I originally thought. And that information is from “Real Simple.”

Real Simple also had this little trick: “Tip: Roast two small turkeys side by side rather than one extra-large bird. They’ll be done in almost half the time.”

I just might, Real Simple, I just might.

Meanwhile, I’d like to hear what you all think–what’s hard about cooking a turkey, what’s easy, what do I need to remember?

I already feel like I need to purchase a meat thermometer, and a baster. So I did some more probing on the website from Real Simple, and found out there are 7 things I should own to make a turkey. This might get expensive.

*Meat thermometer
*Roasting pan
*Roasting rack
*Carving board
*Carving set
*Gravy separator

Looks like I have some work to do…next up, “40 ways to Simplify Thanksgiving.” I can’t think of 10 things I’d need to do, let alone 40 things I’d want to make my life easier. Looks like I have some learning to do…

You say boy made girl feel good…

It’s one of those magical nights where I am in the mood to go play Frisbee in the parking lot of my high school. Or wander around the Boston Public Gardens. There are some people familiar with this mood I find myself in from time to time. It’s the mood that makes me want to paint a red bird in charcoals in my kitchen even though I’ve never been able to draw in the past but do it anyway. It is the mood I get in when I write letters to friends I haven’t talked to in years. It’s the mood when I want to write a novel and read a book and catch up on my National Geographic and listen to a new band all at the same time. Channeling this mood is hard. I usually end up doing something completely uncharacteristic and yet all to characteristic of myself. I write some poems, I take some photos, I add a page to my novel, I read the National Geographic cover story, and I stick my fingers in some paints.

Tonight, because I am too antsy to cut and paste pages of a magazine into a meaningful collage, I will instead write you a list of my favorite music artists. I feel like this information is constantly changing, and this information may be different tomorrow, but for now it is what it is.

1. As always. Forever. James Taylor and I are one and the same. His voice soothes me to sleep, gets me excited about summer, fall, winter, Christmas, and spring, and reminds me that sometimes you’re homesick, sometimes you cry because something is sad, but that everybody has the blues.

2. Third Eye Blind is a band I can never leave behind. With lyrics like this?:

And I would say that Im sorry to you
Im sorry to you but I dont want to call you
But then I want to call you cause I dont want to crush you
But I feel like crushing you and its true
I took for granted you were with me

I can’t be anything but loving. Their concert evoked in me emotions I didn’t think possible all in one night.

3. Lifehouse. It’s a band I’ve always loved without always knowing why. I have seen them multiple times in concert, and I feel like they make my soul dance and my heart shimmy around. I can cry, laugh, dance, love, and lust while listening to Lifehouse. They remind me of B, of L, and of home friends that I will never, ever, ever forget. They remind me of cottage nights on a lake somewhere far away where the sky is full of stars and hopes and dreams.

4. Better than Ezra I think holds the record for my all-time favorite song. I’ll leave you to figure out which one it is. (I got a little bit of reason to everything I’ve done…)

5. Apparently it’s cliche and juvenile to love Jason Mraz as much as I do, but his music is the base of most of my crazy moods. His voice moves and slides and melts and freezes and pauses and I feel organic as I create my own grooves around his intricate lyrics, melodies, harmonies, and key changes. Jason, I’m yours.

6. Sara Bareilles. For multiple reasons. Because “Between the Lines” is the song that describes something so real, raw, and something so close to home that I will never forget the first time I heard it, and how I felt, and where I was. And because her songs make me sing along until my voice is hoarse.

7. Sarah McLachlan. She’s Canadian. We’re on a Sarah kick. She reminds me of moving across the country. She reminds me of my mom, of my BFF L, and of all the times before and after I became the new girl again. I will remember you…

8. Train. And Pat Monahan’s single CD. Because I am a gemini-capricorn, and because if I ever find truth, I’m going to let you know. Every song that Train sings makes me giggle, smile, and stop in the mall/car/grocery store/restaurant/hallway/real awkward party living room and text my BFF. And that’s something I want to sing about.

I like lists that are not so organized, and because of that I will stop with 8.

Censorship in High School?

I found out today from a family friend that my old journalism adviser was pulled from his position regarding freedom of speech of the student newspaper, particularly because he called the Superintendent spineless. The following is a letter to the Editor I wrote to my town back home, because I am furious.

It has come to my attention that Mr. Phil Jones has been removed from his position as advisor of The Bleu Print. As I was the Assistant Editor of The Bleu Print under Mr. Jones in the 2003-2004 academic year, I was deeply concerned by this information.

Almost two years ago, Editor-In-Chief Joy Wilke’s article regarding the preferential treatment of football players was pulled from The Bleu Print by then-principal Ron Mead. As a former editor and then-student in the journalism program at Emerson College, I found myself at ill-ease when thinking that the paper I had worked so hard for had been tested by the administration. Mr. Mead had always supported The Bleu Print articles that we wrote, even when Editor-In-Chief Rachel Dotson wrote a questionable article on underwear, specifically thongs, during our senior year.

Wilke’s article was the beginning of the end for the First Amendment at Chelsea High School. Preferential treatment is a common occurrence across our country: from Kenton, Ohio, were two students were given special treatment which allowed them to complete the football season before serving 60-day sentences in juvenile detention in 2006, to a story just this week in Cahokia, IL, where a high school football player was permitted to commute to and from school from his jail cell after being convicted of several felonies.

Since Wilke’s article, it seems as though Chelsea High School’s journalism students have undergone some hardships. The program was cut for economic reasons, forcing the students to produce The Bleu Print as an independent study course rather than a journalism course. Now, their trusted advisor, Mr. Jones, has been stripped of his duties. I am not saying that it was right for Mr. Jones to call Mr. Killips “spineless.” However, I do believe that Mr. Jones had valid concerns regarding the roll of the administration and its encroachment on the student body and the students’ newspaper.

It is not in good taste to have censorship in high school newspapers. Newspapers are meant to be an open forum for students and faculty to get a sense of how the student body feels. Wilke was not alone in feeling outraged at the idea that certain students were getting special treatment. She was not the first in the country to feel this way or to speak out against it. And Mr. Jones is not the first advisor to be removed from his position for supporting the rights of his students.

I am a college graduate of journalism. I worked with writers first hand from newspapers around Massachusetts, broadcasting and writing about the world and the news as it happened. I learned a lot of what I knew from Mr. Jones, and I learned that freedom of speech is what every student, and every citizen, has to fight for.

It disappoints me that Chelsea would allow such an atrocious removal to happen. I hope that the students realize at what a disadvantage they will be without the guidance of a talented advisor such as Mr. Jones.

Yes, we carve!

Last night, Jeff and I carved our pumpkin into an Barack O’Lantern. I got the idea when I was thinking of what we could carve this year. Each year, I try to theme my pumpkin. Four years ago, we did a Hanson pumpkin.

This was SS and K’s idea, but I decided it was all in good fun. Sophomore year, we took it to a new place, and carved, “Peace,” “Love,” “& Pumpkins,” and a peace sign.

Then last year, L and I decided to kick it up a notch and do environmentally friendly, and alternative energy, pumpkins. She carved a sun, and I carved a wind mill. No good photo of the wind mill, unfortunately, but there is a good one with L and the sun!

The windmill is the one with the zig zag lines on the left.

This year, as you saw above, we carved an Obama pumpkin!!

Go Obama!!! Who knows what we’ll carve next year?!

B-A-N-A-N-A-(S) Bread

As I left the house in a rush yesterday morning, it occurred to me that the bananas that I had bought at the farmer’s market this weekend were getting black spots. As the temperatures for yesterday were supposed to be in the 90s, I decided it’d be a great idea to make them into banana bread when I got home. Of course, once I had decided that, I couldn’t get “B-A-N-A-N-A-S” out of my head, and as I write this I am singing it in my head.

I searched the Internet for a recipe that I had all the ingredients for.

Finally I settled on this one:

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

The original recipe is here.

I changed the recipe a little–I used, 4 tablespoons of butter, or a half stick, instead of 5 1/3 the recipe calls for, and I used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 1 or 3/4. I also added about 2.5 tablespoons of cinnamon, and only 3 bananas. Delicious. So, my modified recipe below:

  • 3 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/2 stick of butter (4 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 tbsp cinnamon

It was a huge hit with the boys, my roommates P and E. We’ll see if Jeff will try a piece, as he doesn’t like banana bread very much. But, it was a good breakfast for me, and a great alternative to ice cream after dinner, so as far as I am concerned, job well done.