The Turkey – not just 3 strikes in a row

One of my goals in life is to bowl a turkey.  Another goal had been to roast a deliciously succulent moist Turkey.  On my last attempt, in February 2010, I failed miserably.  However, last week, I finally managed to accomplish this long-sought triumph.

The secret?


I soaked the turkey for about 4 hours in 4 liters of water with 2 cups of salt dissolved in it.  It’s important to thoroughly wash the turkey inside and out after brining and before it goes in the oven, or you end up with a very salty bird.

The brining some how keeps the turkey moist and flavourful during roasting.  The only snag I ran into was that the gravy made from the brined-turkey drippings was waaaaay salty, even watered down with stock and some red wine, it was a bit too much.

So, that is the secret to my success.  A number of guests at my Thanksgiving dinner had never eaten turkey before- and when I asked them what their favourite dish was, they said “the turkey”.  Personally my favourite was the cranberry sauce:

and of course, the pumpkin pie!

Though, choosing one of my own favourite dishes is like choosing a favourite child… you have to love even the ones that don’t turn out great (The candied sweet potatoes… with raisins, pineapple, and coconut.  Something wasn’t right with that one.).

The full spread:

My babies include the turkey, the stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

Thanks to everybody for bringing such delicious plates – 3 different salads, garlic bread, green bean casserole, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, apple crumble (not pictured), and pecan pie (not pictured).

Whether it was a first Thanksgiving or 31st, it was a delicious and lovely evening!

it’s coming. are you ready?

I’m talking about Thanksgiving.

Preparation in my house has already begun.

This morning I made some bread dough, and left it to rise, to bake when I get home this afternoon.  This is the first step in making stuffing, which will go into the turkey, which is currently defrosting in the fridge.

Other preparation I have already completed included tracking down where to get frozen cranberries (can’t get fresh ones in Wellington!), buying them, as well as essentials such as a pumpkin (for the pie), ginger cookies (for the pie crust), and of course, the turkey.

Let the feast begin!  Well… just as soon as everything is ready.


bootleg sounds

I don’t know how legit this is, but I used my new audio recorder to record Mirah’s show at Happy  in Wellington on 28 October.

My supervisors suggested I start recording our weekly meetings, so I had been borrowing the school’s “voice memo” recorder.  The administrator at the school was kind of getting sick of my borrowing it every week (even though the school owns like 20!) and giving me a hard time everytime I needed it for like 2 hours.  GG kept telling me to go to Dick Smith’s and buy a cheap one for $100, but I knew I wanted to the Zoom H2 recorder, which was available for about $100 USD in the states, and much better quality than anything at Dick Smith’s.  The Zoom recorder is supposed to be some kinda fancy equipment used for professional recording or something.  Anyway, I know nothing about music gear, but I figured if I had to buy an audio recorder, I might as well get one that I could use for many purposes.  Since I bought it in August, I have only been using it for my weekly meetings with DD & GG.  BORING!  I figured that since I have this alleged “professional” recording device, complete with an instruction manual the size of a Jane Austen novel and several diagrams of ideal placement for recording, I thought I would use it to record a show I was actually really looking forward to – Mirah at Happy in Wellington on October 28th.

This is my first attempt at bootlegging a show, so it’s perhaps not the best quality.  The vocals are a little too quiet and the drums peak out at a couple points, but otherwise, it was a good show.  There was a lot of funny banter regarding New Zealand, and she played to a room of about 30 people, rather than the normal 700+ person shows that she might headline in the states.

There was a really eager young man who kept trying to convince Mirah to stay at his house after the show.  He literally mentioned it it 3 or 4 times in the space of a 5 minute conversation, to which she kept replying “I’m staying at a friend’s house”.  It would have been creepy if he wasn’t so innocent and naive and eager.



The dogs of B.A.
Gone are the days
Bones & skin
It’s not your fault, Ponchartrain
We’re both so sorry
The world is falling
Look up!
While we have the sun
The forest
Cold cold water
Light the match
Mt. St. Helens
The garden
David Bowie “Changes” cover

I would appreciate feedback.

perhaps not destined to be a hobbit…

The new pair of Peter Jackson films about hobbits have been in the news here in New Zealand quite  a bit lately.  There was some kind of labour dispute over contracts and whatnot for actors, and they were considering filming the movies in Eastern Europe, until some kind of deal between the actors’ unions and the studio people was reached.  So, as of last week, “The Hobbit” has been given a greenlight to start production.  I don’t actually understand any of the details with the disputes and the deals, all I know is that on the day when the contract conditions were finally ironed out, the Dominion Post ran a story with the headline “One Deal to Rule Them All”.

However, to my everlasting chagrin, after getting professional headshots done (gratis, thanks to a friend), and tracking down who/where to send an application form in to be an extra on “The Hobbit”, I have had my hopes bitterly crushed.  It appears that the filming will be taking place in Matamata, and if you don’t live near there, they will be unable to use you.

As you can see, it’s a bit too far to commute!

Maybe I will have to postpone my dreams of becoming a “Wellywood” star?  Unless perhaps they want to cast me in a lead role… the hobbit’s love interest?  According to an industry insider the “type” they look for when casting hobbits is a “roundy”.  I wasn’t sure if “roundy” referred to the body shape, or face, though either way, I certainly qualify as a “roundy”.  It turns out they look for people with round faces.  So, yes, despite posessing ideal hobbit-like facial features, I have been spurned by the extras department because I live 7 hours drive away!  Perhaps when they take a closer look at my headshots they will realise I am indeed leading hobbit lady material?

thanks to antony kitchener for the photography!

Summer of Stems!

This post goes out to all my home-girls in the so’hem, especially the ladies of Wellington.  As we embark on what appears to be the beginning of a beautiful summer I have this to say – gams out girls!

That’s right, I officially declare this the Summer of Stems,

Show off them legs ladies!

I’m talking about short skirts, booty shorts, mini-dresses, anything that will give you the opportunity to show off your legs.

(However, if you do choose to wear a miniskirt while cycling, make sure your lady bits aren’t on display, for modesty’s sake.)

I full intend to scandalize all of the men in the School of Information Management with my bare, unshaven gams.

Hopefully I’ll elicit a “nice pins!” from one of the men folk around town, though I will gladly wait until the 6th of December to hear it from the lips of my darling.

Let’s all be inspired by the lady with the hottest legs in show business:

Tina Turner's bare legs



halloween cookie time

Hello readers,


If I could make people all over the world love Halloween as much as I do, it would be declared a global holiday.  Moving apartments on Nov. 1st would be declared unlawful, and workplaces would require costumes to be worn with threat of immediate termination.


Unfortunately, this level of recognition has not yet reached the pinnacle I hope for in certain parts of the world, New Zealand being one of them.  I, however, will not let a lack of the festive spirit put a damper on my own intentions to celebrate.  So, not only did I spend $100 on my costume, including dying my hair red, decorate the mailbox with faux spiderwebs, and but 2 bags of raisin boxes to give away to potential trick-or-treaters, I also baked 3 batches of Halloween Spiral Cookies.

This same recipe can be used for Christmas cookie (red & green?), or any other holiday with 2 special colours.  I was actually thinking perhaps I could do a 3-layer “I love America” Red White & Blue special for next 4th of July… though the white may be tricky.

Anyway, it’s quite simple.  Mix up a batch of your favourite sugar cookie recipe (mine will be posted at a later date).

Divide in half.  Mix different food colouring into each half.  Chill.

Roll out each portion of the dough into similar shaped rectabgles.  Place one on top of the other.  Roll it up like a giant sushi roll.  Chill the roll for a bit longer, take it out, and slice it into cookies (1 cm thick or so).  Bake and enjoy the “wow” factor from your friends and neighbors, who will think all Americans are crazy for Halloween, like me!

for the brown i used cocoa powder and cinnamon


And here is  Joan and Peggy on Halloween Evening: