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Thanksgiving Preparations {Mashed Potato Recipe}

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The date is set!  November 18 is the Second Annual Pre-Thanksgiving hosted by Jay & I.  A small group of friends has been invited (er, as many people as we can fit in our 400 square foot apartment) and menu planning is happening.

Last night, I tested one of the staples of a quality Thanksgiving dinner: Mashed Potatoes.

I’ve always sort of just thrown together mashed potatoes without thought to measurements, so I set out to measure this time.  The results were creamy and fluffy and crazy delicious.  I set some aside in the fridge to test their day-after-appeal.  I re-heated them today and to my surprise – they were still amazing!  I’ve figured it all out.  And they’re sooo easy to make!  Detailed directions and recipe below.  You’re welcome.

Step 1: Chop your potatoes to half-inch cubes.  Place in a bowl – they’re on standby.

In a large pot (perhaps larger than mine), boil water (enough to cover your potatoes).  Add potatoes.

Step 2: Boil 12-15 minutes.  Check with a fork for doneness.  They should be able to be easily pricked with a fork but not falling apart.  You want mashed potatoes, not potato water, right?

Drain.  Place in bowl.

Step 3: Using the same pot on low heat, melt your butter, then add the half & half.  Warm slightly – a couple of minutes is fine.  Pour the butter/half & half mixture over the potatoes.  Hey – no one said this was low-cal.

Step 4: Bust out the hand-mixer and mix these babies!!  Keep going, get all the chunks, we’re going for smooooth.

Once they’re smooth, give them a try and add S&P to taste.  Give it a quick mix to incorporate.

It’s as easy as that!  Go put on your stretchy pants and enjoy.  Testing Thanksgiving recipes is a rough life :)

Mashed Potatoes


Bring to a boil, a large pot of water (enough to cover your potatoes).  Add potatoes.

Boil 12-15 minutes.  Check with a fork for doneness.  They should be able to be easily pricked with a fork but not falling apart.

Drain and place in bowl.

Using the same pot on low heat, melt your butter, then add the half & half.  Warm slightly – a couple of minutes is fine.  Pour the butter/half & half mixture over the potatoes.

Using hand-mixer, mix til smooth.

Once they’re smooth, give them a try and add S&P to taste.  Give it a quick mix to incorporate.

Throw some chopped chives on top for good measure!

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Back to the grind and the 4 Cs

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Back from cold weekend in Northern VT.  Lots of fun was had.  As evidenced by our muddy and newly-creaky bikes at the end of our Sunday ride.

If you follow along on Instagram, you might have seen this:

Yup – corn chowder with bacon bits.  If this doesn’t say “Fall,” I don’t know what does.

I call this soup the 4Cs

Complicated Celebratory Corn Chowder

I used someone else’s recipe for this and while I was pleased with the outcome, the process was a bit much.  It called for the use of 5 pots/pans!  Yikes.  In the works is an adaptation with added simplicity and fewer steps/pots & pans!

{Celebratory simply because I’m back to work}

Anyway, so now here I am… the Cambridge side of the river for 8 hours a day.  The view is lovely, no?  Looking forward to getting back to my favorite food trucks and good coffee :)


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7 may or may not be my lucky number {7 life updates}

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1. Welcome, Fall!  Summer, I love you, but we had to end things, Fall is where my heart is.  Orange leaves.  Orange bike rides.  {Orange leaves covering the trails so I’ll be less scared of obstacles and ride faster and sometimes fall faster}

2. I have finally upgraded my phone.  Hold on, hold on.  If you know me, you know that that’s a HUGE understatement.  My old phone was a {gasp} flip phone circa 2005 sans camera or fancy schmancy Internet (it had capability but not feasibility).  Over the past two years it began to show signs of wear… And right as I was dreaming of an iPhone, the damn thing must’ve caught on to it’s imminent demise.  The screen acquired the ability to unhinge itself while hanging on by a thread wire.  People!  It could still make and receive phone calls!  It was practically in two pieces!!!!  Pretty impressive, I think.

What did I upgrade to you ask?  Pfft – of course, the new iPhone 5!!!!  And I’m totally hooked :)  Among other things, I am happy to have a quality P&S camera so I’m not always lugging around the DSLR.

3. Speaking of the iPhone camera – I now have an Instagram account.  You should totally look me up & follow along – my user name is: christinen07

You’ll find gems like this one

4. The Boston Local Food Festival was this past Sunday.  This was the third year and it was held on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  A lovely location.  The Festival was packed, as expected but featured a wide range of vendors.

Quinn Popcorn – I’ve heard amazing things about their popcorn and was able to have my first ever sample on Sunday.  I tried the parmesan & rosemary – it was out of this world!  And they’ve said so-long to the nasty chemicals usually associated with microwave popcorn.  Check out their site, they explain it well.  I also just found out that they provide stovetop instructions, perfect for those of us that don’t have a microwave.  Thanks Quinn – now that I know I can make your popcorn sans microwave, I’ll be picking up a box (or two).

High Lawn Farms – seriously, the tastiest milk ever!  I tried the skim (which tastes like 2%) and the chocolate.  Their milk comes from Jersey cows which are shown to produce milk with higher levels of calcium and vitamins.  Totally.  I wish I could find this at the grocery store closest to me, but I’m glad to have it available at a few surrounding stores.

Backyard Farms – they seriously had a tent where they sliced up their tomatoes and handed them out on toothpicks.  No muss, no fuss.  We all know I like a good tomato and their’s was great!

Revitalive Cafe – from Newburyport, MA – they specialize in raw foods.  They have a variety of tasty food and juices at their location in Newburyport.  I was glad to sample their kale chips.  Tasty, gluten-free, organic, raw, and vegan!

And there were demonstrations too!  Including how to butcher a pig.

Also, a totally ingenious idea from Real Pickles

5. A recent trip to my local Whole Foods included a sample of a Pumpkin Pie Float.  Think root beer float, except with Pumpkin Pie Soda by Maine Root.  Obviously, I proceeded to then buy a 4-pack and a half gallon of vanilla ice cream.  No “recipe” necessary – you can figure this one out.

Drool.  Make.  Consume.  Thank me.

6. The garden is still desperately trying to keep up before the frost sets in.  I have two small tomatoes that are red and likely ready to eat tonight.  Lots more cherries that I hope turn color in time!  It’s a race against the clock.

7. Finally, it’s back to work for this girl.  I now have a temporary position to bring in some money and build my experience.  I am still looking for work, but the position I accepted has a lot of positives for right now and I will continue to have time to write, cook, and share here on TWF.  Stay tuned :)

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Garden Update: September 2012 {Don’t stop growing & blustery skies)

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Fenway Sunflower with a Bee

After an apparent blogging hiatus, we’re back with a (long overdue) Garden Update.

Here are the previous garden posts for your reading pleasure: August July Part II, July Part I, June, May/the start

As expected, nothing much happened in the past few weeks.  The plants are strategically placed to avoid tipping over today as we have harsh winds and rain in the forecast.  Western MA has tornado warnings again.  Yikes!

Here are the specifics:

Tomatoes: I continue to prune the tomatoes to encourage new growth and it seems to be working… kind of.  The plants look a little funny, er naked.  I’ve had lots of flowers emerge, but many just died off.  I used an epsom salt foliar spray to offer some help.  I do have maybe a dozen or so cherry tomatoes that are visible and almost 10 non-cherries on the other plants.  My fingers are crossed that they’ll reach full-size and turn color before we get a frost.

Basil: I’ve been picking leaves to use and dry and also promote new growth.  It’s working.  I used a lot of basil for my recent tomato soup/sauce extravaganza.

Peppers: we ate two small light yellow peppers and a Purple Pepper!!  They were all small, maybe 3 inches long?  The purple was especially lovely.  Plants have a handful of tiny peppers still trying to finish growing before the end of the season.  Hopefully they make it!

Kale… still alive and sort of growing??  Aphids are still present.  I’ve mostly given up on the kale.  I still give it water, but I’m not overly concerned with it.

Arugula: nothing was happening (literally) so I gave up on it

Flowers: alive

Cucumbers: three small cukes consumed in August.  And then the plants shriveled up and died.  The end.


Harvest to date:


For no particular reason, this afternoon, I made a word-cloud for TWF using  … big shocker, check out the two largest words ; )

Enjoy some Fenway Victory Garden flowers:


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Dear Blog, I haven’t forgotten you…

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Dear Blog,

I haven’t forgotten you.  I’ve just been up to my elbows in tomatoes and interviews :)

The interviews are done for now and I’m super super excited for one of the positions!  Keep your fingers crossed!!  This position has my name written all over it.

The garden is still alive, minus the cucumbers – they just couldn’t handle the heat.  I’ll write later with more detail.

And those 50 pounds of tomatoes?  If you’re curious to know, they resulted in 56 cups of tomato based products, sauces, soups, in addition to about 4 or 5 topping a tomato & onion focaccia.  The freezer looks awesome and the process was fun, but I was glad to clean the drips and drops off the stove in the end.

Tonight, I’m headed to Newbury St for Fashion’s Night Out Boston.  This weekend is a Greek Festival in Brookline – Opa!

And I’m quickly working my way through Jenna’s book.  A great read so far that I’d highly recommend!  Check out the Boston Globe’s interview with her as well

Have a great weekend!  I’ll write again soon


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