Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, 27 November 2014

James decided that he wanted to host both sets of parents as well as my brother (and his girlfriend Haylee) for Thanksgiving. I thought that was a lovely idea so we started preparing last week. My mother helped me set the table and created a gorgeous centerpiece of peach and ivory roses with greenery and berries. 

I set up our buffet as a bar with adult beverages, smoked almonds, salted cashews, and dill pickles. I added pickled okra as a nod to our time in the south. They are delicious.

Mom and dad came over early to help get the sides started. I put the turkey into the oven around 9 a.m. so we could eat at 1 p.m. It was a 16 lb turkey and I cooked it in a Reynold's oven bag with celery, fresh rosemary (that I grow at home), and onion slices. When you use an oven bag, don't forget to put one tablespoon of flour in before the bird and shake it around. This prevents the bag from bursting. The instructions also ask you to brush oil on the bird before putting it into the bag (I added onions, celery, and fresh rosemary to the cavity as well).

Mom snapped this shot of James and I in the dining area. Our dining and living areas join as one large space so our fireplace helps to heat up the room. It was cozy. 

At parties and holidays, I like to put out raw vegetables for people to snack on before the meal. This is so just in case people only go for gravy and dressing, at least they get a bit of fat-free, crisp nutrition (Who am I kidding?). The ranch dip is great and can be made in a healthy manner: non-fat, plain Greek yogurt with a packet of dry ranch powder dressing.

Thank goodness that my mom knows how to make delicious pies (including the crust)! She uses the finest ingredients and somehow she always gets them to come out of the oven perfectly. Mom brought a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie. 

She ALSO baked chocolate crinkle cookies. Amazing. They are topped with a bit of powdered sugar. James loves cookies so mom was quite popular today.

James' mother Cathe (pictured below with James) is also a great cook. She brought potatoes that she fried in the oven in cast iron skillets as well as two types of delicious cranberry relish. Cathe was also our entertainment. She is so funny and very complimentary which makes the chef(s) feel fabulous! 

Of course about the time that the food started coming out of the oven and off of the stove, I stopped taking pictures. Such a bummer because my brother and his lovely girlfriend as well as James' father were all there and I didn't get any shots of them. This was certainly a fun day filled with family, food, and football. Much love to you and yours! 

Professional website

I've designed a space for posts regarding my profession including media research, journalism college courses, and happenings in news. Please visit the site D'Arcy on News

The Next Step

Saturday, 15 November 2014
It is time for me to take my own advice and start a blog/website that is professionally oriented and discusses my research, teaching strategies, and media thoughts. I would also like to open my own social media accounts to coincide with a professional stance regarding media.

The teachers of the Media Writing labs at the University of Tennessee had a recent meeting with Dr. Jim Stovall and he reminded us that people in the academic industry are working specifically on blogs or websites designed to showcase research, teaching styles, or a topic of some sort. For instance: Am I trying to get a job? Am I trying to highlight my research? My website should center on that.

I've recently applied to several academic jobs and went through a couple of initial interviews. I'm just wondering who we know that has constructed a sort of online resume/CV that works in the academic job application process. If you have examples, please post here. The greenhorns need to know.

Holiday Wreath DIY

Friday, 14 November 2014
My grandmother and mother have always been amazing flower arrangers. It is a fun hobby for them and through the years, my mother has taught me how to arrange flowers. We create fun arrangements for our holiday dinners and the occasional birthday. For a gathering this week I decided to try my hand at putting together a a "live" wreath. I wired two grapevine wreaths together to begin the project.

I then went around my neighborhood and scavenged grasses, pinecones, greenery, and also found cat tails! The next step was to add them, piece by piece, into the wreath. Some of the items easily slipped into twigs of the grapevine and I wired the pinecones on using floral wire. This all worked nicely and gave the wreath different textures. 

I left this out on the porch overnight so that the greenery would stay cool. The day of the gathering, I added sunflowers, mums, and red pears. These were attached using floral picks. 

As a finishing touch, I added orange berries and I think that helped finish the look. I paid approximately $12 for the flowers, $5 for the pears, $20 for the wreath (it can be reused) and $5 in supplies. I gathered the other materials from nature! It was approximately $40 for the wreath but I'm sure if I were to buy this from a florist it would cost a fortune. Plus, I had fun putting it together.