Friday, November 16, 2018

A Turkey Tale

Does anyone else have turkey cooking memories from years past?

I do.
At this point you may be thinking 'of course you do Laura'.

I began my early marriage cooking history thinking that someone else older and turkey wiser than I would always take care of the turkey.

I helped in the kitchen of course, and I contributed some sort of side or dessert, but I was not 'in charge' , and it never dawned on me that I ever would be.

I postponed that thinking because I still had one foot in 'sitting at the kid's table thinking'.

Oh the blessed 'cluelessness' of youth. 

I remember my mother talking about how the Riverside brand of turkey at HEB was just as moist as a Butterball and how lucky I would be if I ever had double ovens in my kitchen.

I cooked my first turkey in a tiny rent house on Glasscock Road in Mission, Texas with an even tinier kitchen. 

While standing in the middle of the kitchen, I could rest my elbows on the counters on either side.

I used the handwritten recipe of a new colleague at Sharyland High School- where I had just started teaching.

Her name was Martha Louise Kendrick.

Martha Louise's recipe was certainly a method different than what my mother, grandmothers, or aunts used.

She wrapped her turkey in a cheesecloth that had been soaked in melted butter. 

This sounded very exotic to me, but I was determined to try.
This was of course long before cell phones, unlimited long distance, or Butterball hotlines.

I can't tell you if it was a success.

It was more like wrestling...

very slippery, buttery wrestling. 

But one thing happened that day.
I took a giant step away from the kids' table.


November 16, 2018
40 years later.

I just got back from the WalMart near our house after stopping by Albertson's and a WalMart in a different location.

I was on the hunt for a 24-25 pound Butterball turkey.

I learned years ago that if I am going to cook a turkey, we are going to have plenty to share with family members and to have as leftovers.

The nicest meat department manager was unboxing Butterballs.

I asked him for the size I wanted, and he found a 24 pound turkey , and it was on sale for 98 cents a pound.

At this stage in life, I think I am finally past worrying about poisoning everyone because of my rebellious thawing techniques. 

I have also learned in the last 40 years that at 5:00 am Thanksgiving morning when I am wrestling (once again) with the turkey, that that is a solitary sport.

I am grateful for that young woman wrestling in that kitchen 40 years ago, because she was learning then and gaining her adult footing.

I am grateful to Martha Louise Kendrick, and for all of the turkeys since then-

wrestling and all:)


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Finding Delight in Simple Things

The motto at Saint Mary's Hall- the girls' boarding school in San Antonio I attended for four years and graduated from was
Teach Us to Delight in Simple Things

That was and never has been a hard concept for me to grasp.

I think it was in my DNA when I was born.

And so jump ahead many , many years from that graduation date to this blog White Spray Paint that I created long ago , and my tag line says it all. 

Here at White Spray Paint I share how I enjoy

Finding Delight in Simple Things.

Now please don't misunderstand.

This message of simple things is not about minimalism.

I do love simple things- all dolled up that is:)

And I may have used the expression 'more is more' a time or two in my life.

But this current holiday season reminds me of what this all means to me.

And so what does finding delight in simple things look like in my daily life?

Yesterday was a perfect example.

I woke up at 4:00 am ( a quirk in getting older), and I fixed a cup of my favorite coffee- Wal Mart's Colombian . 

I had several cups while sitting on my closet floor and sorting through my shoes.  

Everything hurts my feet these days (another quirk in getting older), but sorting my hurting shoes into donate piles felt right.

I was hungry around 6:00 am so I cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast. My husband was pleasantly shocked when he woke up later to a big breakfast.

And then the fun began.

A garage door repairman was due to arrive to replace our garage door opener , but first the garage needed to be emptied.

His words when he came by for an estimate may have included 
'M'am...I can't get to the garage door opener to replace it...'.

I hired two men that have worked for us many times to empty the garage because I just can't lift heavy things like I used to (another painful quirk in getting older- with the positive benefit of hiring someone).

And so the day went.

Days like this really make me happy.

I got to speak in Spanish , I laughed at what was found in the garage, I drank lots of icy cold Diet Orange Crushes that were in the garage refrigerator, and we were all working hard.

What a great day it was- for me and my personality-finding delight in simple things.


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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fall at Casa Golondrina

Welcome to the Fall in Love With Texas Blog Tour and welcome to our home Casa Golondrina.

Fall has arrived here in El Paso.

This is our second fall season in our home after living here almost 15 months.

What is this second fall season teaching us?

That fall has and always will be about family, friends near and far, good food and good football, and comfort.

This is a comfortable house.

I have learned that I still love and enjoy my fall things from the past, but I am now seeing fall in unexpected places-

like this pillow I found at the Santa Fe flea market, or the colors of the nicho I found years ago at the McAllen flea market.

Those things look like fall to me too.

But, the very next minute I turn around and see my beloved blue and white and my gathered and collected fall things from years past, and I think, 'that looks like fall'.

And so it all is, right? 
I hope your fall season is wonderful!
Don't forget to look in unexpected places:)
If this is your last stop on our tour, organized by the wonderful Katie of Let's Add Sprinkles, we are so glad you visited. Here are links to all of the tours.



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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Blue and White Fall Tablescape and Ten on the Tenth

Welcome to October's Ten on the Tenth, where our theme this month is all about fall.

Fall is that perfect time of year to use what you have and to keep things simple.

There is nothing I enjoy more than opening up my cabinets (where I store my dishes and other treasures) and putting together a special tablescape or vignette.
I rarely have a plan.
It is almost like looking through family photographs.
There are memories attached to every single piece.
The Spode Blue Italian is the pattern our oldest daughter selected when she got married ( in addition to Blue Danube and Old Britain Castles).
I fell in love and started collecting all three that same year:)

The small blue and white planters are from my favorite thrift store in El Paso.  
There were about 20 of them, and they were $3 each.

Here is where I erred on the side of caution.
I only bought 6.
Here is also how I think- six won't do much.

I tend toward 'extravaganza' thinking.
As in- wouldn't it be nice- if hosting a party- to have blue and white planters on round tables with tablecloths, all filled with succulents?

But no. 
I didn't need 20 :)
The yellow woven napkins are a flea market find.
The bee patterned stainless from Horchow was a great sale find.
The woven chargers were collected from Overstock .
And of course there is my collection of blue and white- all found at the flea market or Ross or Marshall's.

I have had most of these things for years.
They are part of the family.

Please visit all of the bloggers listed below. They are all sharing wonderful fall ideas, all under $10. You will be inspired!

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Fall Kitchen Favorites

This past summer I added some new kitchen items to my everyday cooking routine, and I think you will enjoy them too.

We are about to hit the holiday cooking season, and these simple, inexpensive solutions can truly make life easier.

  Dollar Tree Place Mats

I now use plastic Dollar Tree place mats to line my kitchen drawers, and to protect the glass shelves in our new refrigerator.

I am adhesive shelf paper challenged, and I do not enjoy wrestling with it or cutting it to size. It reminds me of dealing with tangled coat hangers or packing tape.  Please tell me you understand.

I first saw this solution in Totally Tikaa's instagram feed.

They are easy to remove ,wipe down, and return into place. 
If you buy a pattern with a grid, as I did, (I bought the gray and white ones above) it is easier to cut to size if you need to.

Cost? $1 each.


Small Inexpensive Paring Knives

I may be a little obsessed.

These knives can be found at all of my favorite places:
Ross,T.J. Maxx, and Marshall's.

But who are we kidding? Ross is my kryptonite.

I know the experts say we are supposed to have high quality knives, and I have a few, but most of my daily chopping works great with one of these.

Plus they are colorful and light.

Cost? $5.99-$7.99 a package.
 Wooden Cutting Boards and Serving Pieces

Ever since our youngest daughter schooled me on the fun of creating charcuterie boards, I keep my eyes peeled for wooden bread boards or cutting boards or pedestals that I can use for serving. 

Did you know there are all sorts of charcuterie board accounts on instagram (#charcuterieboard)? 

Here is the first one I did, but I am working at improving.

Ross has every size of wooden tray you might need, and the prices are so low.

Cost?  $5.99 and up

I love the ones that look like wood slices..

There is something about the 'getting ready for the holidays' that I especially love, don't you?

Oh... and about Ross.
As you walk in the door, take a deep breath, and let go of any preconceived notions you might have .

It's worth it!

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