Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

For The Kids’ Table On Thanksgiving

When I was little, Thanksgiving day would go something like this:

Wake up ridiculously early.

Watch the parade.

Unravel the 20 braids in my hair so it would look crimped and gross like fancy mermaid hair because that’s what people do on special occasions ūüėȬ† .

Go to my grandmother’s house and eat at the kid’s table I had to eat enough real food to get me to the next round which was ice cream sandwiches that were somehow in the magical shape of turkeys.

Watch the women sit around the kitchen table and talk.

Watch the men watching football.

Long story short, I wished I had something fun to do while the grow ups did grown up things.

If you didn’t know this about me already, I’m an art teacher. Here’s a fun and cute activity for the little guys at the kids’ table this year. It’s a Native American inspired vest.¬† I do this project with my kindergarteners and 1st graders. They love it, and it’s virtually fool-proof.

You will need:
A large brown paper bag ( the kind from the grocery store, not Bloomingdales)
A hole puncher
A big piece of construction paper (optional)
Glue ( if you are using the optional paper above)


Draw a “U” shape on the bottom of the bag.

Flip the bag over.¬† Draw a “V” shape at the bottom of front of the bag (where there is a seam).

Cut out the “U” and “V” shapes out.¬† (I add 2 strips of packaging tape to the shoulder area so they don’t tear).


Cut down the front seam.

Cut 2 arm holes out.

Punch holes along each side of the seam.

Decorate with crayon at any time.¬† I’d do all of the above steps before the kids get there if they are small and can’t use scissors.¬† Nothing’s worse than feeling like a “baby” when you’re 4.

I had my students draw on a large brown paper that was glued to the back of the vest (in case they made a non-fixable mistake…we only had exactly enough bags for 1 per student).

Cut small snips along the bottom edges to create fringe if you like.

Tie a piece of yarn to the top hole on each side of the vest and lace it up!

I’ll post a photo of me playing dress up tomorrow.

Apple Cranberry Cookie Cobbler

It’s Fall y’all. The holidays are¬† coming along with chillier weather.¬† That can only mean one thing.¬† It’s baking season! I know a lot of people who love baked goods, but hate to bake.¬† Well, this recipe is for you guys.

This past weekend, I hosted a Pampered Chef cooking party.¬† This recipe comes from the rep that did the demonstration at casa FSL.¬† I tweaked it a little bit. Here’s my version.¬† It tastes fan-frikkin-tastic and is super easy to make.¬† It tastes like Autumn.


4 granny smith apples (or whatever apples you have on hand – I used 5 gala apples)

1 (16oz) can of whole berry cranberry sauce

2/3 cup of brown sugar

6 tablespoons of flour

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 package of frozen sugar cookie dough


Pre heat the oven to 400 F.

Core and slice apples into bite sized pieces (I left the skin on because I’m a slacker)

In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberry sauce, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.


It should look like this

Put it all into your bake-ware evenly spread out (I used Pampered Chef’s “deep covered baker”). It’s stoneware, so if you use a glass dish, you’ll just have to keep an eye on it while it bakes.

Next, slice up 1/2 of the frozen roll of sugar cookie dough. Keep the other half to eat raw while you wait bake with later.

Evenly place the dough slices on top of the apple mixture.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes (or cookie looks golden brown).

Your house will smell amazing at this point.

Imagine the scent of apple pie and sugar cookies.¬† Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!!

Scoop and serve!  It probably rocks with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, but this thing barely made it out of the oven before we had spoons in it.

It’s not entirely from scratch, but when you get home from work and you want comfort-food style dessert, this baby hits the spot!


What’s your favorite comfort dessert?¬† I need some more easy recipes like this one, so share them if you’ve got them!

Pumpkin Spice Pudding Shots

Okay.¬† I know that I posted about pudding shots before (see that recipe here).¬† This recipe is tweaked just a little bit, and they taste ridiculously good, so I’m posting about them…again ūüėÄ

It’s definitely autumn in Connecticut.¬† The leaves are beginning to change color, the air is crisp, and football is what consumes my Sundays (GO NY GIANTS!).¬† Pumpkin is the official fall flavor.¬† It seems like every brand has a pumpkin version of its original.¬† Pudding is clearly no exception.

My friend Lindsey was having a get together on Saturday and called for reinforcements (AKA me).¬† She’s been dying to try my pudding shot recipe since I first posted it.¬† I told her to pick up milk, whipped cream vodka, cool whip, canned whipped cream, garnishes and whatever flavor pudding she wanted to try. She bought pistachio, cookies & cream, and pumpkin spice.

She’s not normally camera-shy.¬† But when I whipped out the camera & started snapping shots of the food, she knew it was blog material.¬† I told her I wanted her to make a FSL cameo, but this is all she gave me.

She’s like one of the girls from The Price Is Right making the box of pudding look glamorous ūüėČ

I digress…

We made the cookies & cream first and followed the original recipe.

These weren’t topped with whipped cream or crushed oreos yet because we made them the night before.

Next, we made the pistachio.¬† We also decided that this was the point where we “tested” a few out just to be sure that they were good ūüėȬ† We thought that they were a bit too strong.¬† Yikes!¬† At this point we decided to cut the recipe for the next batch.¬† This is what we did:

1 cup whole milk

1 packet pumpkin spice pudding mix

1 regular sized tub of cool whip

1 cup whipped cream vodka

a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice

Put all of these ingredients into a big bowl.

Mix Mix Mix

Pour the mix into squeezable shot glasses, garnish with a squirt of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon!

I triple dog dare you to try to have just one of these.¬† I’m not kidding.¬† Instant party in your mouth. Like, for real.

What’s your favorite pumpkin flavored fall dessert?

Looking Back…What A Rockin’ Year!

Today is my last day of school!!! Actually, it’s a half day ūüôā¬† I am uber psyched!¬†¬†Every time I reach the end of something, I reflect.¬† I reflect to see what I’ve learned, what I could do better next time, and¬†how I’ve grown as a person from the experience.

As I look back,  it was a great year for me.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Here’s my last year in review…

June 2010: I had my bridal shower, bachelorette party, and found out our offer was accepted on our first house! Click here & here to see what our house looked like before we bought it.

July 2010: I went from Mindy Mac to Mindy P!  I married my best friend July 30th. See pics of that here. We paid a honeymoon visit to Negril, Jamaica.

August 2010: I turned 28, moved into my in law’s house and gained 8 pounds because my mother-in-law is an amazing cook!!¬† Click here¬†for her crockpot chicken & potatoes recipe.

September 2010:  We finally closed on our house!!!

October 2011:¬† We moved in!!! Mr.FSL turned 32.¬† His vineyard birthday party¬†is where we snapped this picture…

November 2010: November 1st was the inaugural post (about jalapeno infused tequila no less, lol! See my first post here).  I got my wisdom teeth pulled. We hosted our first family holiday at casa FSL!  I made my first Thanksgiving turkey!! (Hear about that mess new experience here)

December 2010: Our first married Christmas in our new home!¬† Instead of a housewarming party, we had a “Bad Christmas Sweater Party” and made a shot-ski!¬†¬†Hear all about that crazy time here.

January 2011: The snowiest winter¬†on record for CT!¬†Actually, there was so much snow, our roof that extended over our beck deck (which extends the entire length of the house) collapsed!¬† Hear about that craziness here. Here’s a shot of my husband and¬†his dad &¬†our borrowed snow blower on the back deck.¬† That lovely metal piece in the background used to be our roof ūüė¶

February 2011:  We took a much needed vacation to Salt Lake City, Utah!  We went skiing on some of the most beautiful terrain & ate at the oldest saloon in the state! Get the scoop on that trip here, here, and here.

March 2011:¬†We threw¬†our first rager!¬† About 100 people came to our house for a surprise party.¬† We had the pizza truck & a comedian, great time.¬† I got the DIY itch & painted a chalkboard wall in our kitchen & decorated it for the occasion. I drew Yankee Stadium & a pic of the b-day boy on it…

April 2011: My chicken tortilla soup recipe was featured by Oxygen Magazine!!¬† I was sooo excited, it’s my fitness bible (get the recipe for that here)!¬†My husband & I¬†did a photo shoot in a haunted opera house (see those pics & the insane video here) ¬†My craigslist desk makeover was “Freshly Pressed” and is still the most popular post on Finding Silver Linings to date.¬† I was stoked and amazed that I was also a ¬†“Pop Pressed” featured blogger!¬† Crazy!!!

Are you kidding?! I was so excited!

May 2011:¬† My mom & I had the best Mother’s Day ever!¬† We hit up Manhattan for a spa day, made it on TV, and ate at one of the best restaurants in the country!! (Hear all about it here).¬† I started my vegetable garden!

June 2011:¬† Here we are! Finally feeling settled at our house.¬† Getting the hang of keeping up after laundry, cooking, cleaning, wife-ing, ya know, that whole thing.¬† All in all, what a wonderful year!¬† I can’t wait to see what summer vacation brings!¬† You all know I have a list of stuff to do!!

Sorry for the uber wordy post.  I guess I am feeling a bit nostalgic. Looking back does that to me.

Thanks for sticking around ūüôā¬† I love you guys!!!



Gobble Gobble

Well, the turkey is in the oven, and most of my list is crossed off.¬† I laughed, I cried (almost), it was good. I’d love to say last night’s antics went off without a hitch, but I’d be a liar!¬† I did have a good time doing it though, and that’s what it’s all about for me.¬†

My husband installed a toiletpaper holder in the master bath, I put up a shower curtain rod, hung the curtain and added some little touches. We cleaned the entire house. Scrubbed.  Tossed in a few loads of laundry. My husband gave Rocco a bath & blow dried him! I finished setting the table (after I realized we only had 8 place settings here, and ran to go get more) , and added a few decorations around the house (including sparkly gold taper candles that shed glitter EVERYWHERE). Cleaned the floors again. Then, it was time to get to cookin.

¬†Here’s yesterday’s cooking adventure in a nutshell….

First, I baked, then frosted the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I baked first so the house had that yummy scent!

Next came The Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie!!

The recipe called for 3 beaten eggs. I don’t own a hand mixer, so into the magic bullet they go!


They didn’t have chopped pecans at the store, so I mulched¬†these badboys.

Into the the Pillsbury  semi homemade pie crust.

The gooey mixture gets poured right on top

Trying to get fancy

About half way through the baking process, you have to remove the tin foil.¬† This is where it got ugly.¬† The filling was pure liquid and I couldn’t see that because it was covered.¬† Ugh! I pulled the pie out of the over and spilled it all over.¬† My new happy yellow towels, yeah, covered in sweet pecan pie!¬†

Oh no! I had to clean the inside of the oven, because there was pie juice all over it and was smoking!!!

I wigged out regained my composure, and kept on with the game plan.

ahhh, not a total mess!  Looks good to me!  **smackin my lips** mmm hmmm

In the words of Jay-Z, on to the next one!

Potatoes were up next.

I don’t own a peeler. I broke out with the knife and peeled these babies old school style.

mahed these guys and added all the other ingredients.  I put them into a baking dish, covered it so I can bake them up before the feast! Up next, the cornbreads.

Yes. This is from a box.¬† I chopped up a jalepeno and tossed it into the batter.¬† I am a moron¬†didn’t read the box, and poured the mix into a pan that was waaay¬†too big.¬† These ended up jalepeno corn pancakes!¬† I tried to distract everyone from noticing how thin they are¬† made them look nice on the serving dish!

At this point last night, it was about 10:30 and I was completely delirious.¬† I was staring down the butt of a 20lb turkey.¬† My mom came over to make sure I didn’t ruin everything help. She said I was the only person she’s ever met that repeatedly apologized to a turkey! I felt so guilty for poor little Timmy the Turkey.¬† If you’ve never cleaned out a turkey, be warned. It’s graphic. We pulled out the guts and washed him with cold water and salt. She said I needed twine to tie up Timmy’s legs.¬† Nobody told me I needed twine!¬† I improvised. I cut a slit in the skin, and popped his legs through.¬†

I tossed  him into the roasting pan, covered him in foil, then into the fridge for a good night sleep. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Share your Thanksgiving stories right here!

Decisions Decisions

So, I’ve decided to hell with brining. I’m jumping right into this thing!!! I just wanted a classic roast turkey recipe, and I searched and found last night. Anyone that watched TV Food Network has heard of Ina Garten AKA Barefoot Contessa. I’ll be using her recipe for my first turkey. (Ina, don’t let me down!)

Here’s her recipe if you’re curious:
1 (12 pound) fresh turkey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 Spanish onion, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
4 tablespoons unsalted (1/2 stick) melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, lemon, onion, quartered, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

Roast the turkey for 2 1/2 hours, basting from time to time with pan juices, until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with foil; let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve hot.

The list

This is “The List”. I’m crossing things off the list one at a time. (Yes, Thursday has “take a shower” on the to-do’s! If I don’t block off time visually, I’ll get flustered and end up in the shower when guests are arriving!) I started “x-ing” last night.

I didn’t want to make “real food” last night, but I did make honey-butter for my boxed cornbreads.



I softened the butter, added honey to taste, put the mixture into my favorite Pampered Chef cake decorating gun, and POOF! Fancy pants honeybutter!

My father-in-law loves carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I don’t own a veggie peeler/shredder, so I bought the boxed carrot cake mix. I didn’t make it yet, but I made the frosting from scratch.

Here’s how I did it:
* Two 8oz packages of low fat cream cheese
* 1 stick of unsalted butter (softened)
* 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
* 1t good quality vanilla

my husband’s aunt bought this vanilla back from her trip to Cancun! YAY!

mix cream cheese and butter well
add vanilla
gradually stir sugar in
lick every last drop off of the spoon

I also whipped up a batch of brownies. I realized last night that there was no chocolate on the menu anywhere! We can’t have that can we?

When do you start your food preparation for the Superbowl of cooking?

To brine or not to brine, that is the question.


I’m kind of stumped with this one. Our family prefers the standard turkey. No lemon rosemary stuffed in the cavity, no frills, just cook ol’ roasted turkey. I’ve been reading eveywhere that brining is the way to go, my mom says throw it in the pan and baste it every few hours, a few ladies I work with insist on wrapping the turkey in foil and it self bastes! AAAAH! Somebody give me a fail proof classic, juicy,roasted turkey. Please?!


The clock is counting down! There are 4 days to go. I’m freaking out¬†excited about hosting Thanksgiving for the first time!

The menu is set. It’s going to be a full blown feast.

To feel more at ease about all of this, I am doing my food shopping tonight. I picked up a few things last week. Including a couple of boxed cornbread mixes. Is it lame if I make cornbread from a box for a holiday?

I’m no Sandra Lee (cocktail time anyone?), but is it okay to have some things semi-home made? What do you think?

10 Things

10 Things I love about Autumn

1. Being lucky enough to live in New England, and getting to see the foliage change

2. Apple Pie!
3. Pumpkin spice coffee
4. It’s finally soup season
5. Watching a movie under a soft blanket
6. Getting free home decor from Mother Nature like this and this
7. UGGS!

8. Hoodies
9. Football (GO NY GIANTS!!!)
10. The smell of fireplaces when I walk outside

What are you loving about this cozy season?