Happy Labor Day - Stevie's Crazy Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 249159

Stevie's Crazy Kitchen

HAPPY Labor Day 
Sep. 5, 2011 12:19 pm 
Updated: Sep. 8, 2011 8:57 pm
The day has begun, as so many do, with a "lick and a promise" as my mom would say...  Full of the anticipation of yet another wonderful "holiday," full of the fares of such a day.  Thus far my 3 day weekend has been eventful, entertaining, and most enjoyable! 

To many, this holiday represents the ending of yet another summer - the last of the holidays and vacations with which we celebrate this "wonderful" season.  ( I use the term loosely... live in AZ a few years... you'll look forward to the END of summer HEAT!) 

In my life and home, this is the final kick off which culminates every year in a rather extravagant undertaking... the "Thanksgiving Pot Luck."  I use the term extravagant with feelings of both excitement and dread!  Pot luck should in most instances, indicate a gathering of friends/family with which the "host" has little more to do than insure adequate plastic cutlery, and strudy paper plates.  To me, it's a reminder that I've got the better part of a house to clean, declutter, polish and spit shine.  This is my time to spring clean..!  With this also comes the task of attempting to somewhat organize the gathering.  For instance, one year we ran out of turkey before each guest had fixed a plate.  Another time, the bird was accompanied by about 40lbs of mashed potatoes (but next to NO gravy, nor additional sides.)  With these catastrophies in mind, I take it upon myself to attempt at least, to insure a balance of side dishes, desserts (who wouldn't wish to eat turkey and chocolate cake ONLY?)  I'm guessing that you get the idea...  Then there are the years that I cannot compute just how much turkey we will need, until that very morning!  Slightly difficult to toss in the oven "last minute!"

Now, this endeaver may still have you puzzling... "what's the big deal?"  I personally instigated this concept over 20 yrs ago, finding myself in Phoenix for a holiday, made and meant for family and loved ones...  I had only a few friends!  And eating alone.  Once J and I had become involved with the car club, the entire idea mushroomed, exploding from a guest list of anywhere from 10 to 25 (or more.)  Our biggest group resulted in 3 tables with chairs spread through 2 rooms, friends lapping their meals in the living room, and having difficulty turning around without steppping on someone's foot!  That year we had a smoked ham and three turkeys... yes, I said "and THREE TURKEYS," with little to spare regarding leftovers!  Year, and year again, I have prepared a turkey, and provided adequate disposable cutlery and plates, gallons of coffee, iced tea and lemonade.  This all takes a bit of orchestrating and a lot of effort, on my part.  And still, after all of these years, the "clueless" remain clueless...  With the exit of the last guests, and totally exhausted by then, I simply fall into bed.

On the Friday, we begin the day with "policing" for trash, collapsing the dining table down to size, folding borrowed chairs and tables in hopes that their owners will swing by to relieve us of custody.  Once the dishwasher is filled and running, I'm usually able to begin cleaning up the kitchen of slopped food residue from the counters, sweep/mop the floor, begin hand washing some items but still anticipating a second running of the dishwasher when the first load is emptied...  Sending out for lunch... dinner?  Any of  "my" turkey left?

"Whew... take a breath!"  Is this torture or pleasure?  My only answer is that for 20 yrs with the exception of 1, I've taken on this endeaver every November.  Yes, I do look forward to it, but once again have come to that place... where I HAVE to say "if the house is too dirty, TOUGH!"  I simply don't have the energy anymore to pull out all of the stops, and take this all in stride as simply, "another anual event."  I begin early, do as and what I can, attempt to keep a balance of entree, sides and desserts...  J has begun picking up some soda if needed, but I find that some folk, who simply don't care to cook, appreciate when I ask "can you bring a 12pk of your fav soda?"  It was also a painful lesson the year I had to ask one attendee to take his entire massive bowl of tossed salad home... (definately an item to minimize in the future!)   

So, where was I when I began?  Oh yes....  Labor Day has arrived!  It's been a pleasant weekend, allowing the wind to blow as it will.  Saturday turned out to be a crazykitchen day, as I recall, yesterday using up a few l/o's - today will in a slightly more traditional menu... sirloin steaks on the grill for 2, baked potatoes (most likely) and... maybe that tossed salad I've wanted all weekend!  Simple, to prepare and clean up!  Ice cream and homemade hot fudge sauce when desired... it WORKS for me!  Or.... do I want to mess with potato salad this afternoon?  Well, either way!

So all, I hope that your own weekend was pleasant, including some family gatherings and or cookouts!  Meantime...
Be healthy, be happy, be crazy!

Sep. 5, 2011 12:55 pm
Hey Stevie, here's a thought. Ask the group or get someone you know and trust to suggest to the rest of the T'day bunch that they pitch in a few bucks each (3-4 should do it) to get you a house cleaner the day before. Cleaning lady could come in and clean all your public rooms in just a couple of hours, likely. Close the bedroom doors and you're good to go. We had Sean, Stacey and the grands over yesterday as Sean works today and it was nachos for lunch and chili/cornbread for dinner. Not very traditional, but my cupboard was pretty bare, and no way was I facing the crowds at the MacDill commissary. I'll go tomorrow. Our Labor Day today is a tossed salad with tuna and deviled eggs. Yeah, we're traditional. LOL
Sep. 5, 2011 4:27 pm
We spent the day at the beach, there is an international surfing competition being held here for the next 10 days and today was the competition for the 2 wild card slots and we were cheering on a local boy Yay! he made it. So we filled up on concession stand offerings. Tonight everyone just grazed and I'll probably make grilled cheese sandwiches later if anyone is really hungry. I know what you mean about the coordination involved when you have large numbers of people bringing dishes. I sometimes think it was easier to just do it all myself.
Sep. 5, 2011 7:19 pm
Lucy, interesting concept... wonder if I can figure a way to implement... BigShotsMom, how wonderful, a day at the beach! Checked MI weather today, but not E coast... (still dreading my trip!) Guess you may have had to bundle up? BTW, tried your "let it rise 3 times" and I'll be darned, second half of same batch of dough turned out somewhat "normal." Thanks so much! Can't wait to leave next post! Have a ha ha to share with all!
Sep. 5, 2011 8:42 pm
Wow, you are an energetic host. We do family thanksgiving, etc, also. Sometimes, in inviting, I state I'll fix meat, potatoes, rolls, coffee, tea. I invite guests to bring their specialties, and when they ask, I can direct them to what I know they prepare beautifully, balancing the menu. Asking for drinks is good idea. I sometimes request a large bag of crushed ice in a cooler. I usually have a dessert ready, and make a large "corn pudding" casserole, my specialty. When time is of the essence, those bagged, frozen rocks of dinner rolls are good. I slowly thaw them (in a cool place, covered) in the large pan the night before, reshape them, let them rise, (covered) and bake them while the meat is resting. Brush with butter, and they think you are a great roll maker. Cleaning one room at a time, starting with the least-used one, beginning 2 weeks before, works. I'm like you, in that I do a fall cleaning about now, after the summer heat-inspired "lazies".
Sep. 5, 2011 9:09 pm
Mamaw... I/we did as you suggest last year. I began in my sitting room, which nobody ever uses, then the hallways, and on to kitchen and dining room. Sure worked for me! Also the "room at a time" worked well! You're more energetic than I... toss a bird in the oven, have tea/lemonade made ahead, and have all plastics/paper. I've DONE enough! I've never made "corn pudding," and may never have eaten any. Care to share your recipe? "crazycookaz@yahoo.com" if you will! I can keep it in my "private" file, if you wish! Be well, friend, and I'll be thinking of you with every area I'm forced to clean come Nov!
Sep. 6, 2011 2:31 pm
"Corn Pudding" It's easy, flexible, only uses 1 dish. Preheat oven to about 350 degrees. Melt 1 stick REAL BUTTER (nothing else) in the casserole or glass baking pan. Stir into the butter, still in the dish: 1 egg (fork beaten), 1/8c m/l sugar( ok to estim. in palm), 8-oz reg. sour cream, 1 can creamed corn, 1 can regular corn (can be drained or not), 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix. When all is combined, wipe drips off baking dish, bake until center doesn't jiggle, and top is lightly browned. Don't over-bake. You can up the temp. if not getting done in time. Doubled: (I bake a double batch in large round, brown, ceramic-coated, clay shallow casserole. Takes about 1 hour +/-), great presentation.) When doubling, you can melt the butter in the baking dish (=buttered dish+melted butter!), then pour the butter in with the rest in a large mixing bowl to combine. If cooking for 2, divide mix into 2 or more (buttered)glass, clay,ceramic dishes. Also freezes/reheats well. Always cleaned out first at get-togethers. I gave this recipe to my cousin in Cleveland. She won't give it out!
Sep. 6, 2011 3:42 pm
A double batch fits into a 9 x 12 or so glass pan.
Sep. 8, 2011 8:57 pm
Almost forgtr, Steve. Impt. footnote: do not use anything but real butter, and regular sour cream. This produces the best texture and flavor. Have a great day.
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Stevie crazycook

Home Town
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Living In
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Member Since
Feb. 2008

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Quilting, Gardening, Music

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About Me
Started cooking many years ago, and learned as I went. First meal may have been "steak & chips" at age 15, in Birmingham England, where I lived for several years. Mostly grew up in MI, transplanted to the desert 30yrs ago, or so. Favorite cookbook is "Better Homes", also enjoy "Great British Cooking, a well kept secret." Hesitate to call myself "expert," but friends do rave...
My favorite things to cook
Italian has been my "specialty" for some time, and my "signature" meal is Lasagne, salad, garlic bread, which I first made 20yrs ago... from SCRATCH, very first time I made it. (Never again, folks...) Now start with a big jar of sauce!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanks to my heritage, I have enjoyed trying foods from different cultures. We still have beer battered fish, and chips of course; ground meat dishes often, chicken occasionally, pork too. I would love to submit a bean dip recipe, however, my ex who gave me the original has passed, and I have no way to verify that it didn't come from another source! I also enjoy British cooking (with a few yankee twists) and once made Plum puddings, also known as Christmas puddings, as far as I know... what an ordeal that was, but well worth the effort. Today, there is mail order!
My cooking triumphs
Greatest triumph was not too long ago, when I held a sit down dinner for 12, Lasagne being the entree. It was a fund raiser I chose to sponsor, and am proud to say that "we" raised over $1000 from that meal alone, minimum donation being $25. All proceeds collected were donated; my partner and I provided the meal and beverages.
My cooking tragedies
MEATLOAF of all things! Went through a stage of "winging" it each time, and I pulled one after another out of the oven that were almost unedible. As yet, not too big on baking... no sweet tooth here! Have dabbled, but find doughs/pastries especially difficult, perhaps as it's 90 degrees in my kitchen much of the year.
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