Saturday, November 17, 2012

Season's End

Ah, November.  The colder, quieter month after the golden busy days of September and October.  It still counts as an autumn month, technically, but the icy breath of winter is already here.  The trees are shutting down for the winter, the squirrels are fat and frantic, I'm pulling winter coats and snowpants out of storage, and finding that it takes a good 15 minutes to scrape ice off the Swagger Wagon.  We're remembering what it's like to wrestle mittens on babies a dozen times in 2 minutes, only to have them flung off with a devilish grin one more time.

Tater gets some leaf action, the final dry pile of the season.  She is unimpressed.

 November means finding more indoor diversions.  Spork discovers the joy of stickers.

Spork loves sitting at the craft table but hasn't quite gotten the hang of the chairs yet.  He gets up here, then he screams for help, like a kitten stuck in a tree.  His help/want yell is an aggrieved, "Mah, mah!" and I keep expect him to follow up with, "The meatloaf!  We want it now!"

Give the boy a fork and dish, on the other hand, and he's a pro.  If you have a baby learning to self-feed in the winter months, you need this bib.  But it doesn't quite cover all the bases when you have a Spork who likes to stuff things under his thighs for later.  I suppose what we need is like a wipeable bunting.

We are gearing up for our first ever Thanksgiving at home.  I am taking the easy road and skipping the turkey (heresy, I know), because Hubby and the Nugget do not care for it.  So we'll get some smokey salty meat from the Honeybaked store instead, and I'll be whipping up baked brie, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, the cranberry sauce from a can (Hubby loves things that come out in the shape of their containers).  Picked up a frozen pumpkin pie and whipped cream in a can; with 2 babies and a preschooler, I figure this is no time to be a purist.  It is, however, an amazing time for our family - we are really starting to feel like we are complete.  We have our fingers crossed that we will know Tater's future for certain next month.  The children are happy (well, between tantrums and sib drama, obviously) and we are all healthy, Hubby has a secure job that he loves and at which he is appreciated, I am blessed with family, friendship, and community, so there is so much we are thankful for this year.
Baked Brie - so easy and delicious, it's almost criminal.  This is a "wow" appetizer that will make people beg you for the recipe.

1 pack thawed phyllo dough (a box usually contains 2 packs, save one in the freezer, you only need a few sheets)
pepper jelly (my personal preference) or raspberry preserves
1 wheel brie (SuperTarget carries small wheels of Presidente for under $5)
olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to the temperature listed on the phyllo dough box.  Take a sheet of phyllo, spray it with olive oil, stack another sheet perpendicularly, spray it, and repeat until you have about 5 sheets prepared.  Place your brie in the center, and cover it with a generous layer of the jelly of your choice.  Gently wrap the phyllo dough layers over the top and fold/press to seal the cheesy goodness.  Spray with olive oil, and bake about 15-20 minutes, or until the dough is golden and crunchy, and the cheese is melty.  If you find the cheese is still too solid, nuke it for a few seconds at a time.  Serve with whole wheat crackers.

You can also use puff pastry for this recipe if you prefer a flakier, softer, more decadent pastry around your cheese.

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