The chickens, at just over three weeks, continued in their baby dinosaur phase.
Mostly, like any babies, they ate, slept, pooped, and required frequent changes of their dirties.
A new puppy, just in time for my sister’s 29th birthday, and my 40th.
He – Einstein – sleeps quite a bit, too. But only after he’s been running around like he’s on puppy uppers, playing as only puppies can.
We were also awaiting the arrival of yet another baby, who would continue that time-honored tradition of eatings, sleeping, and pooping.
Fortunately, she held off on making the birthday party really lively.
My sister and I had been letting our hair grow out so we could then have it cut off and donated to Locks of Love. We had decided that would be a fine birthday present for both of us.
That turned out well.
Although for some reason – and we didn’t realize this until well into the evening during the party when my sister pointed it out – mom and I were wearing the same color. Must be that whole spring thing.
I think I figured out the issue I’m having with WP and posting. So, another recreated post here and hopefully that will be the end of that.
We had a household of people the morning after the baby shower, since the Atlanta folks couldn’t very drive home after a very very long day of eating and visiting and more eating and more visiting. They all sacked out, and in the morning, as people begam to stir, I started breakfast. After all, it’s only hospitable, and you can’t send people off on empty stomachs.
First up, start the hashbrowns: potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and garlic. That’s all you need.
Threw some ham on the griddle to warm it.
For a lot of people, you need a lot of eggs.
Because I was already feeling not so well, and because everyone wasn’t quite fully up and about, no special orders. Scrambled in batches, with cheese.
The gravy that no one allowed on the table the day before…
…was paired up with biscuits. Not homemade. I didn’t have the time or energy for it.
I actually starting prepping and cooking things on Thursday for Saturday’s gathering. The turkey and the pork butts both went into the brine on Thursday. Both were drained and rinsed on Friday, then went onward to their next destination. For the turkey, into the oven, accompanied by some beef tips that would serve as dinner Friday evening for the hordes descending on the place.
The butts received a rubdown.
And then 14 pounds of pork went into the smoker.
With those things out of the way, I moved on. Mom had made some cakes for her Hawaiian dessert.
Those were topped with a combination of vanilla pudding, coconut flakes that I toasted for her, crushed pineapple, and frosting. People love it. I also made a couple batches of strawberry ice cream to go with the vanilla ice cream I’d made previously.
We also boiled some eggs…
…and some shrimp.
Potato salad, shrimp salad. Yummy. We were running low on barbeque sauce, so I decided to whip up another batch.
Between doing all this and working the “real” job, it was starting to get late. There was still quite a lot to do, though. Like pull the turkey out.
Nothing quite like the smell of roasted turkey. In the wee hours of Saturday morning – about 1 AM, I suppose – I had made four batches of dough for sandwich rolls.
At 2:30 AM, I pulled the butts from the smoker. Fourteen hours of smoketime.
I made a funny face at the butts and they started to fall apart right before my eyes.
Just kidding. I actually pulled them both by hand. They melted like butter, though.
I’d also shaped the rolls from the dough.
While those were undergoing their final proofing, I carved the turkey. White meat and wings/thighs…
…and dark meat.
The rolls went into the oven and the gravy train started while those were baking.
The batches of rolls were finished…
…and by this time, it was approaching 5 AM, so a nap was in order. Just after 6 AM, I got back up and started up again. T-7 hours to the arrivals.
First up, getting the crabcakes formed.
As usual, lots of crab, very little cake.
The day before, I’d sliced some cucumbers and onions on the mandoline.
These were combined with sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill to make a cuke salad of sorts. One of my sisters’ favorites. Aubrey had picked up the flowers and started arranging them.
I got the spinach-artichoke dip started.
This went into the fridge to wait until it was time to heat it through. We also roasted some beef to slice for sandwiches.
Another batch of crabmeat, to mix with a few things to stuff mushrooms.
A little onion, red and green peppers, Old Bay, pepper, butter, and the crabmeat went into mushrooms caps and was topped off with provolone.
We steamed some broccoli for the gratin.
Publix made the cake.
Mom also contributed a sweet potato souffle (great, by the way). We put it all together, got everything for the main meal on the table (the appetizers having been put out some time before, with people snacking away), and forced everyone to back off while we got a final picture.
Let the games begin.
Later that evening, since apparently I’d not had enough cooking for the past couple of days, and since someone had mentioned it, I decided to whip up some focaccia.
Two batches, actually: the second batch I formed into doughballs for pizza (or mini focaccias).
The cheese was added to the bread about halfway through the baking time.
In retrospect, I probably should have made two focaccias.
Because eight minutes and forty seconds after taking the above pictures and pulling the bread out, this was left.
Tasty stuff, I guess.
Eventually, almost everyone left except those enjoying the hospitality at the estate. Those who were left crashed where they could find space. Based on the lack of leftovers to pack up, I’m guessing that everyone enjoyed their meal. That’s always a good thing.
Still in the process of rebuilding the gigantic, picture-filled post from Saturday’s festivities. There weren’t many leftovers, but I had saved the legs and wings from the turkey I roasted, thinking I’d figure out a use for them or eat them with some gravy (and stuffing, if I can talk my mom into making some from the giblets we boiled off). Since I woke up with a horrible headache and my throat is on fire – not to mention this horribly deep cough I seem to have today – I did find a use:
Just the thing to soothe a sore throat and try to fight whatever buggies were brought along by the crowds. I suppose this is one of the problems with not getting out amongst people a lot (plus that whole radiation/chemo thing): the defenses aren’t what they used to be.
I don’t believe I have ever attended a baby shower. This occurred to me while I was editing the pictures from the festivities. I know I have never cooked for one, although this is not something tremendously different than, say, cooking for thanksgiving or memorial day or any other holiday. A bunch of people, with varied tastes (some don’t eat pork, there are a few vegetarians, and so on), all gathered around to enjoy one another’s company.
There are times when people think I’m exaggerating the size of the family. Thanks to my sister’s impending newborn arrival, almost the entire family was gathered together. This is rare, as everyone has their own set of obligations elsewhere, and it’s difficult for us all to get together in one place. But since everyone adores Gabrielle, they came. This is the immediate family, their significant others, and their kids. Three generations worth of people.
By my count, there are 31 bodies there. Add in the other, non-fam people who showed up for the party, and you have 50 people in the house.
That’s a lot of people.
The massive amounts of food will be in another, separate post.
The final menu for Gabs’ baby shower on Saturday, even though she’s being irritable and hormone-y (is that a word?), is ready. There will be in the neighborhood of thirty people here for fun and games and food. Slightly more than originally expected, but who cares? I like to cook for crowds. Since it’s a lunchtime shower, it isn’t quite as involved as a regular evening meal would be, but there’s still quite a bit of work to get done.
Appetizers: Mushroom turnovers; spinach and feta and spinach and havarti turnovers; spinach and artichoke dip (homemade bread bowl); assorted crudites; cheese platter; deviled eggs
Mains: roasted turkey, pulled pork, and roast beef for sandwiches (on homemade rolls, of course – the dinner rolls I made can easily be adapted for this); shrimp salad; crab cakes
Sides: Potato salad; homemade potato chips with bleu cheese; broccoli gratin; sweet potato souffle; cucumber and onion salad
I’ll start the cooking tomorrow and we’ll end up on Saturday morning with the things that we can’t really make in advance. Everyone will come, eat, have a good time, and then be gone before the evening – except for the clan coming from Atlanta, who will enjoy our hospitality and then leave on Sunday to go back after we have breakfast of some kind. That breakfast will not include homemade bacon, alas. I did not expect that we’d go through five pounds of bacon by eating it here or giving it away over the course of just a couple of weeks. Since we did, we have none here – but I did get two fresh pork bellies Wednesday, so those will go into the cure and be ready by next week for smoking and storage. I’m hoping to get the sausage done tomorrow as well. It didn’t quite make the list of things done today because we wound up looking for a farm truck to haul everything from cow poop to lumber to hay.