Thursday, November 24

Italian Family Secret

Heritage wise, I mostly am a mut, however, I do have two dominant heritages.  My mother's side is mostly French (with some German/English) and my father's side is Italian. My great-grandfather, Augusta Semprini, immigrated over to the United States when he was a little boy. I claim my Italian side as my heritage because I seem to know more about it and we actually have Italian family recipes and traditions.

Every time I have ever walked into my grandma Ilene's house... there has been a pot of our family's traditional Italian soup on the stove. Literally, every time. We call this soup Kaplit (Kah-plit). Her mother made and grandma has been making it forever too. We believe it is a old recipe from Northern Italy. 

My dad and I made Kaplit for the first time by ourselves last Thanksgiving and it turned out pretty good. However, when Jordan got to taste the "real thing" from Grandma herself this summer... he said our Kaplit wasn't as good as Grandma's. So Dad and I had to try again this year...

My entire extended family absolutely loves Kaplit and grandma is not to quick to divulge the recipe out. Her brother, Ted, printed the recipe in a church cookbook but it's slightly different from the way my grandma does it. My dad's sister, Kathy, has never written the recipe down but just makes Kaplit from how she remembers her Grandma and mom making it. Kathy wrote down the recipe this year for us so that we could try and make it grandma's way... we mixed Kathy's with Uncle Ted's recipe to get ours... My dad thinks we need to share the family recipe for any other Italian's that might be missing their homeland. ;)

First, let me explain to you what Kaplit is. It is like a chicken noodle soup but it it has raviolis and no chicken? so basically a chicken broth. The ravioli stuffing is the deliciousness. It is mostly cheese with some special ingredients. So basically a cheese ravioli soup.

Printable Version with no pictures.
Start with a large dose of patience!
(it takes a lot of homemade work... but WELL worth it!!)

The dough for the Noodles:
2 cups flour
1 egg
dash of salt
some water
Make a batch of noodles - whatever recipe you like best.
Grandma used 2 cups of flour placed on a floured counter top. Make a well (hole) in the flour and she added an unbeaten egg to the well with a dash of salt.
Blend everything with a fork. Add dashes of water to make moist. Add enough water that the dough is moist but not soggy. Cover with a dish towel and set aside.

The Filling:
1 pound Ricotta cheese
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 large zest of lemon
2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
3 eggs
salt and pepper
Mix cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt
and pepper together. Use a grater and take off just the yellow part of the lemons. Mix
this in the mixture. Mix well to get a smooth texture.

Preparing the Ravioli:
Roll out noodles dough thin. Place little spoonfuls (about 1 teaspoon) of the filling and then fold the other half of the dough over. Press the dough down around the filling. Take a pastry wheel and cut small squares out around the filling lumps. Let dry overnight or for two days. You may have to make more noodles to use up the cheese mixture. These can be frozen for future use.

The Chicken Broth:
1 whole chicken
6 to 8 quarts of water
2 tbs tomato paste
onion & celery
salt & pepper
For the broth, cook the chicken in the water with the tomato paste, onion and celery, salt and pepper . Remove the chicken and all the veggies

Combining & Cooking:
Bring the broth to a boil. Add noodles. They take about 5 minutes to cook, if fresh. Can turn pot down to low and keep warm, just like grandma.


So now you have it, the Semprini family recipe of Kaplit. We ate it and enjoyed it! It makes me appreciate my wonderful grandmother. She is such a light to my life!

Thursday, November 17

Make Believe Thanksgiving

Let me start out by saying how grateful I am for the golf team guys. Jordan has made the best of friends throughout his four years of golf at Liberty. If you saw them interact, you would just think they were best friends not just teammates. I realize that a lot of teams can be this way in smaller ways but when your whole team only consists of ten to fifteen guys, it's a lot easier to be tight knit. Anyways, from day one, the golf guys have been like family to us. We have truly been blessed by them. Myself, especially, have loved being friends with all the girlfriends too!

Now onto the event of the week: Golf team family Thanksgiving Dinner!

I thought it was an absolute blast! It was actually a couple of the guys' first time ever having a "real" Thanksgiving dinner since some are not Americans! We have an Australian, a couple swedes, a korean, and a french guy on the team. So there is great diversity.

Everyone that came brought a separate dish of the traditional Thanksgiving courses from green beans to sweet potatoes to stuffing to mashed potatoes...! I neglected to get a picture of all the wonderful food together but I did manage to get a picture of the Frye's contribution to the meal... the turkey!

I would say that Jordan and I had a blast preparing our first turkey ever... but that's not exactly the right word to use. It started on Tuesday when we were trying to get the turkey ready to go into the brine. I couldn't figure out where the gibblits' package was or how in the world to get the neck out... so what is our solution? Call my parents! Of course my mother didn't answer but Dad definitely was a savior! He was on the phone with me when I found and got the neck out of the turkey... I flipped out. I am pretty sure that I will never do that job again, someone else can do it... like my husband. That turkey neck was the grossest thing that I've ever seen and I'm a nursing student. Yep. I was holding a gag pretty much the entire time I touched and looked at it. Wow, enough of that. We managed to get the turkey in the brine-ing bag and got the 19.85 pound bird into the fridge soaking in all it's glory for about 20 hours.

Since our dinner was at 6:30 on Wednesday, we thought the turkey would need to be in the oven by 2:00 to be able to cook fully and have time to sit afterwards. So early that afternoon, I rinsed the turkey after I took it out of the brine and placed my friend back in his little tin carrier. I buttered and herbed him up real good and set it him out so Jordan could put him in the oven when he got home from class by 2:00 since I was headed out to class and wouldn't be home until 4:30.

Well my husband did the best job ever! That turkey was put in the oven and basted with love... probably with help from his wonderful fellas, Tyler & Max. I was greeted at my door, when I got home from class, with the most delicious smell coming from my kitchen! I was so excited! Of course, I had to open the over door right away and look at the little guy! He looked wonderful! He was nice and brown and plump but he had only been in the oven for 2.5 hours! I thought they took longer to brown but hey, he was an early bloomer. I stuck multiple therometers over his body and he was done! He had reached his preset temperature of over 170. That little guy flew through his cooking time. I turned the oven down to 225 and tented the turkey with foil to keep him warm until dinner considering it wasn't for two hours!

Sarah came over before dinner and made her stuffing as I was finishing the wine infused gravy! I melted over the gravy, thought it was delish but I am a gravy girl! So the four of us, Tyler, Jordan, Sarah, and I headed over to the 'golf house' where a handful of the guys live with the stuffing, the turkey, the cranberry sauce, and gravy to start setting up for dinner!

We got there and we started to cut the turkey but his legs weren't done! He was everywhere else but his legs! I was shocked! So we cut those guys off and baked them a bit longer. The rest of the guy was absolutely done to perfect, if I do say so myself. He was juicy and delightful as was the rest of the Thanksgiving dishes that were brought!

We circled up to pray over the meal and dug in. I had such a good time, just taking a break from class and enjoying an "home filled" evening. It was such a fun night. A few people even tried some of the foods for the first time ever! Like Abi's family doesn't have stuffing at their Thanksgiving which was the most shocking thing that I think I have ever heard because the stuffing takes up more than half of my Thanksgiving meal! It was absolutely fun! That night made me so excited to get home for actual Thanksgiving dinner! Of  course, the night ended up in good ole Larson tradition... with me and Sarah washing the dishes. I think it runs in my family... who knows!

All in all, I had such a great time. It was wonderful that we were able to get together and enjoy a family style meal. I was so please that my turkey turned out wonderfully and that it was edible ;)

Monday, November 14

Red, Rich, & Refreshing

Since I've already posted on Christmas... I think I shall write on Valentine's Day? Jokes.  I am heading back to the actual time of the year... Thanksgiving!
[Warning: this post is long but it's because there is a lot of pictures]

I just made a trip to Kroger to find the goodies that I needed for the "Golf family Thanksgiving dinner" that we are having on Wednesday. I am bringing the turkey, the gravy, and the cranberry sauce. The gravy is probably the only reason that I eat on Thanksgiving... well besides the stuffing!

Anyways my point of all that was that when I was on a mad hunt for the cranberries that were NO where to be found, I came across plump pomegranates for a good price so I bought them! Have you ever had pomegranate seeds? I'm sure most people have tried some form of pomegranate juice or another whether its combined with blueberries or cranberries but I am not a huge fan of pomegranates that way.

Last fall, my mom had bought fresh pomegranate seeds from Costco that were absolutely delish! They actually POP in your mouth when you bite them. I almost can't describe their taste, probably because I've been eating them, tasting my cranberry sauce, and drinking some Welch's grape juice for the past hour... but they are seriously fresh and delightful.

I am encouraging y'all to try some pomegranate seeds of your own... if you want to buy them that's fine but I had fun cutting them and getting the seeds out myself. Here's how I did it...

Wednesday, November 9

It's [almost] that Wonderful Time of Year

Merry Christmas! 

Okay... not quite but pretty darn close. Did I scare anyone? I realize that we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet and I often do feel that this extravagant wonderful holiday is overlooked... often! However, when you are not going to be home over the majority of the Christmas season, it changes your outlook of when "the season" starts.

Jordan and I have a week left of classes until we go home to Texas for Thanksgiving, which we are so ready for, but then we are back in Lynchburg for only two weeks until we turn back around for the long awaited Christmas break.

Do you see my dilemma? We would only have TWO weeks to enjoy our tree if we put it up right when we got back from Thanksgiving Break... so we took the liberty to have our tree up for a week and a half longer... and put it up tonight with the very delightful Sarah. Well, if I am going to be honest, Sarah & I put the tree up. Jordan "observed" and "took pictures."

Notice: he is supposed to be taking pictures of the tree decorating occurring... :)
Sarah came over tonight just as I was finishing a batch of these delightful pumpkin scones and the Christmas music was blasted as the three of us tried to put the little tree together. A little Christmas mix was blasting with the voices of Michael Buble, N'sync, Chris Brown, Toby Mac, Will Smith, Christ Tomlin, and Justin Bieber. Yep, a pretty good mix! [Micheal's new Christmas CD is absolutely fabulous... I highly recommend it]

Not sure if Jordan quickly gave up or if we kicked him out... he wasn't fluffing the branches. He is a firm believer in the idea that Christmas trees are better "unfluffed." I am not exactly sure where he got this idea... but he's consistent with it. He said it last year too when he was helping me fluff the tree. I don't even think its a cop out of fluffing the tree... I think he is just silly. That's it.

So Sarah and I proceeded to rock out to Christmas tunes while hanging ornaments... then we were slightly distracted by the CMA awards... The final ornaments were hung to the tunes of our favorite Country music stars!
Some of my favorite ornaments: our topper [that I crafted tonight in about five minutes], two "love birds" [from mom], Our first Christmas wedding cake [from Sheila], Texas old tin roof [from Cottage In The Sun], and the sparkly rose ball 
More of my favorite ornaments: Our first Christmas with stockings [from Sheila], multi rose ball, Bride & groom [from my mom], rose snowflake, Rockefeller Christmas tree [from when we got engaged]
I am admitting that is is a little hard to get in that Christmas spirit when it was over 66 degrees the past two days. However, the Christmas Cheer has arrived to our little Frye home. Bummer, I just realized that I forgot to light my "Twinkling Tree" candle from Woodwick. wow. I was super excited for that. Well, guess I will have that light for the rest of the "season."

As we enter this Thanksgiving-Christmas season, I pray that you all remember the true reason that we celebrate these holy holidays. Yes, Thanksgiving is inspired by the pilgrims but I definitely take is the time to be grateful for all of God's blessings... for He is the only true reason that we can be thankful! Of course, Christmas brings to life the celebration of the reason we can have true joy, Jesus Christ.

Can't wait to truly indulge in these holidays this season with friends and family! Love y'all!