I was going to tell you about one of my favorite ways to use leftover turkey, but then I realized it also uses up an atypical Thanksgiving side dish so let’s start with that. It’s an easy vegetable dish that I started making as a thing to go with salmon and rice. I’m afraid this is one of those recipes without good measurements; if I’d realized I was going to tell it to you, I would have measured as I made it last time. But I will try to at least give you an IDEA of the measurements, unlike my late mother-in-law who gave me her treasured cinnamon roll recipe that tells me to combine “cinnamon, butter, and sugar”—no measurements at all.
Cut up one red bell pepper, one small/medium summer squash or zucchini (I don’t peel it), and some carrots (I do peel those, or else I use baby carrots). The goal is to have about equal amounts of the three vegetables, all in smaller than bite-sized pieces because I like to have a couple of pieces combined with each bite of whatever else I’m eating; I cut the carrots in not-too-thin slices because I don’t like them to get mushy and cooked-carroty. I put all the cut-up vegetables in a 2-quart casserole dish because that’s the only one I have that has a lid, but they don’t fill it so you could use something smaller. I pour on some bottled lemon juice; my guess is that I put on a tablespoon or two. Then I add a pinch or two of thyme, and some ground pepper, and stir it all up. (You could skip the thyme/pepper or use a different spice.) Then I drop in a blop of butter, probably a tablespoon. I put the lid on, and I put it in the oven for roughly half an hour at roughly 350 degrees F, but really it goes in with whatever I’m cooking—so if I’m cooking at 400 degrees F, it goes in at 400 degrees F and I just take it out sooner. When it’s done, I give it another stir to mix the butter around, and I add some salt.
So! Now for how I use up the leftover turkey: scramble some eggs with cut-up turkey and a good scoop of these vegetables (ideally the right number so that every bite has one piece of egg, one piece of turkey, and one to two pieces of vegetable), plus as much Tostitos Queso Blanco dip as I can heap on a spoon. Just stir it alllll around.
Now. What was it I was going to say after the recipe part? Oh, yes! Today we are doing Gift Ideas from Swistle’s House: I am going to wander through my house finding things I highly recommend buying for other people. This idea seemed so great when I thought of it, but the execution was more challenging than anticipated: one’s own possessions sort of VANISH into the house, so that even though I periodically think, “Oh, I just love this shower radio; I should recommend it!,” I don’t then SEE the shower radio when I’m looking for gift ideas. Well, I did see the shower radio. But there are other things I DIDN’T see, is my guess.
Bloom County Complete Library. Children ruin everything, including one’s cherished paperback Bloom County books. There are five hardcover volumes altogether (I have the first three, because those are my favorite era of Bloom County), and the children are not allowed to touch them.
Texts from Jane Eyre. These are even funnier if you’ve read all the books featuring these characters, I imagine, but I haven’t read Wuthering Heights and still laughed a LOT at Cathy and Heathcliff’s texts:
good that’s so much love
Tinted Chapstick in Merlot, for someone’s stocking. It’s $4.99 at Target, sometimes a better price on Amazon. It’s just the right amount of color for not needing to look in the mirror. I tried Hello Bordeaux as well, and it’s pretty good but a little bright on me; the Merlot is my definite favorite.
Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Plum. A more intense color; I need the mirror for it.
The promised shower radio. This surprisingly expensive item ($80 as I’m posting) happened because Paul ordered me a much less expensive one that we couldn’t get to work, and he got frustrated and ordered this one to replace it. Anyway, I love it. I use it the whole time I’m getting ready in the morning. If you don’t need Bluetooth, there’s a radio-only version for $60 at time of posting.
Drambuie. My friend Miss Grace suggested this when I had a lingering cough that was driving me crazy. I bought it as Very Expensive Cough Syrup (it’s around $30 for the bottle), but now I like to have a bottle on hand for occasional treats: it’s one of the only liquors I like the taste of well enough to sip. It’s sweet and warming, and I guess it tastes like black licorice but I strongly dislike black licorice so I don’t understand why I like it, then. To me it tastes more like honey and spice, not spice like pumpkin spice but more like…well, licorice. But I don’t LIKE licorice! It’s puzzling.
Honeywell Circulator Fan. I tend to run hot, and I hate being hot, so I love this fan. It’s just the right size to get a pleasant breeze going, and it tips to various angles. I discovered it because my sister-in-law put one in their guest room and I stayed over and it was perfect.
Munchkin Deluxe. I hate this game. But the children love it, and fortunately Paul will play it with them. We also have the Munchkin Apocalypse, which is a complete playable game on its own (but not Deluxe, so it doesn’t have the playing board) but can also be used as an expansion pack with the basic game.
Vintage Charm Lidded Bowls. These try very hard to imply that they are Pyrex, but as far as I can tell, they are not. They are INSPIRED by Pyrex. I do love them so much, and they have LIDS. The price goes up and down a lot; I got a pack of three bowls with three lids on a Goldbox deal for $20, but more often they seem to be in the $30s.
Melissa and Doug giraffe. Have I…mentioned this giraffe before, or is this a little awkward? I bought it impulsively on clearance at HomeGoods last year and it is one of the joys of my life. The comments/photos on Amazon are funny/entertaining and show that others feel the same about their giraffes. We often dress her in hats and scarves, but I happened to catch her in a contemplative moment right between wearing a small turkey on her head and being draped in Christmas lights and a Santa hat.
Anker PowerCore 5000 portable phone charger, or the smaller/lighter Anker PowerCore Mini 3350. My brother bought me one of these for Christmas one year and now I always have one in my purse. We have about five of them total because they help soothe my Disaster/Preparation Anxieties, too.
Dishers! I have the Oxo small (2 teaspoons) and the Oxo medium (1.5 tablespoons), both of which are good for cookies, depending on how big you like to make cookies. I also have a Vollrath size 20 (1-5/8ths ounce), which is good for muffins. They are surprisingly expensive, so they make nice gifts. Paul gave me the Vollrath one and I thought it was way too expensive until I tried it, at which point I added “more dishers” to my wish list.
TacoProper Taco Holders. Before we had these, it was impossible to contemplate dishing up plates of tacos for five children. By the way, I don’t have any but have you seen the triceratops taco holders? I love them.
Joie Oink pig spatula. A good spatula AND ALSO VERY CUTE. The mini ones are good for scraping the last bits of peanut butter out of the peanut butter jar and into your mouth.
The cuteness of the pig spatulas reminds me of my Happy Spoons (not shown—they’re in a utensil jar on the counter).
LG microwave. Speaking of expensive. But maybe you and a house-sharing adult like to buy each other household appliances for holidays. The price varies a bit; I bought it for about $150, but I’ve mostly seen it higher than that. It is not a compact microwave, by the way, and I hadn’t realized there was a difference, so that was a bit of a surprise (our old microwave was compact). I was like, “Look how it fits EXACTLY on the microwave cart! …..Ohhhhhhhhhh!”
Denim 24/7 Bootcut Jeans. I really like these. (Don’t buy anything on the Roaman’s site for full price: they are the kind of site that has constant sales.) I have them in a few different shades of denim (I particularly like Stonewash Sanded), and recently got bold and ordered them in Red Ochre, which reminds me of the red-orange Crayola crayon. I wish I’d been a little bolder and gotten the Golden Amber instead, which I wanted more than the red-orange but was also more nervous about wearing; I saw them on someone else and they were fabulous. Well. I’ll add them to the next order.
Wet Brush. I bought this because Kelly told me to (which is also why I have Daisy razors instead of the crummy ones I used to have). You don’t have to use it on wet hair. It’s the best brush I’ve ever owned, and Elizabeth and I now own four of them between us. For a gift, I recommend combining it with a Turbie Twist hair towel.
Duluth Fire Hose pants. If you are buying for a gentleman who prefers pants to be cargo and sturdy, I can tell you that Paul says these are the best pants he has ever owned. They have pockets upon pockets within pockets, and they seem beautifully stitched. Furthermore, his barber took one look and said “Great pants. Duluth?” Also, as the one who does the laundry, I can add that they don’t get all wrinkly in the dryer if you don’t take them out right away. They are kind of expensive; sign up for the email list first, because they have constant sales of the “25% off plus free shipping” type. If you need something to bring the total up a bit to meet a free-shipping requirement, Paul also likes their Big Ass Bricks of Soap.