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Simply Thanksgiving Friday Refrainish

Welcome back all! Apologies for the lateness - weather and just overall crazyness around here but here it is: So today, it's time to make your pastry crust (Martha Stewart is the best) and prep your veggies. Look at your recipes, write down how much you need of each/how to cut, and then get to it! Here's my basic breakdown, if you just want to keep it simple this year:

STUFFING: For every pound of bread, I do 2-4 carrots diced, 2-3 ribs of celery chopped, 1 large onion chopped, 3 cloves of garlic chopped. You could also do 1/2-1 whole sweet potato, a rutabaga or a turnip might be fun in there.

Green Bean Casserole: I make my cream of mushroom soup. If you didn't prep your mushrooms yesterday, do so today. For one 8oz container of mushrooms (you need two for a 9x13 pan of casserole though), 1-2 garlic cloves, and 1/2 a small onion. Trim up your green beans if you're using real and blanch tender crisp to get that out of the way. I like thin beans. I always buy french cut frozen. And once I used real and french cut them myself. (and then forgot the casseroles were in the oven and went out to meet some friends and had a terrible mess, but no fire, when I got home)

Sweet Potatoes can be prepped ahead of time. Potatoes get weird like apples, so unless you can submerge them in water, wait until tomorrow.

Crudites/Vegetable platter: I dislike dried up veggies, so I wait until tomorrow or Thanskgiving morning.

Turkey: Don't forget to prep what you put in your turkey. I do a whole garlic head, then quarter an onion and a lemon.

Pie Crust: Don't overwork your dough. I like to food processor the butter and dry ingredients, then pour into a bowl and slowly add the water. The first tablespoon I'll stir with a pastry cutter or such, but after that, I use my hand to gently gather the dough, and that way you can feel if it is coming together, or a bit dry. You'll also knowif it is still wet. If you get a dough ball that is too dry, wet your hands and gently work the dough to fix it. You might have to wet your hands a couple of times, depending on bad it is. Wrap in plastic and set in fridge.

While you're prepping, you can groove to my bizarro Thanksgiving Playlists I have linked up at the bottom. I searched keywords I associate with Thanksgiving and included bands or albums with that keyword in it. Now, I got a little flexible - if a name had "pie" in it, I might have included it. There are a couple of metal tracks, one in the middle and one in the end, just a heads up for those who find it too obtrusive. The Family list is with all albums or bands with Family somewhere the title - a warning, I found tracks that overall fit together, but if you blindly click to an artist, you might be surprised to find it's nothing like that track and I was very lucky to find so many tracks that could work. Anyway, there you go.


Simply Thanksgiving

Greetings, I know I didn't get a Friday Refrain posted... But I have two amazing playlists I'll be sharing this week anyways. Today though, it's price comparison time! This is like football stats to me. Who has the best deal on the turkey? Where's the cheapest heavy whipping cream? And who has my most needed frozen french cut green beans?

I went to Cub, Target, Aldi's and Hy-Vee. The Hy-Vee is the Eagan location, the other three were in Midway. I didn't actually post the turkey prices because we have become more meat-conscious. We're not in a place where we can pay $80 for an organic turkey, but we did make the change to an all-natural turkey this year. So here's what I can tell you about turkeys: $1.99/# for an all-natural turkey is par for the course. If you just want the cheapest bird, the Rainbow Outlet in Midway is advertising Essential Everyday for $.77/#, 2 cents cheaper than Cub. $.99/# is average for your name brand turkeys, Honeysuckle and Butterball. To be honest, I'm not a Jennie-O fan, so I don't even register those prices in my head.We are also buying cage-free eggs so I just know that $2.99 is the best price I see.

As for the rest, here's a pdf spreadsheet of the prices I saw. (also the prices I deciphered from my scribbles) I apologize if anything is incorrect and for the things I didn't actually check at every store. Generally stores keep their prices the same for two weeks around Thanksgiving, but there's no guarantee. The potato price at Korte's is with a coupon from their weekly ad.

In general,  baguette is a good price at $1.99. The bread crumbs I price is for a bag of pre-torn and dried bread. I only found it at Cub this year, and the best part is that they sell a bag of mixed kinds too. I realize that my shopping list might seem odd (especially since I had some things in my pantry already so I didn't include them on the comparison). I think there is nothing wrong with a simple Thanksgiving meal. A simple turkey rubbed with olive oil and rosemary/parsley/thyme with a head of garlic in the cavity, simple mashed potatoes, old school maple syrup/orange juice/brown sugar sweet potates with marshmallows on top, homemade green bean casserole, homemade stuffing, with apple and pumpkin pie for dessert. Oh and if you have an immersion blender, homemade whipped cream will make guests swoon and takes you 5 minutes at most.

To be honest, if anything, buy the rest and make homemade whipped cream. I've seen people eat it plain, like ice cream.

So here's the game plan - today, in a stock pot, put 2-4 ribs celery, quartered onion, 2 carrots, a prune (optional but I like the depth), 3 garlic cloves, a bay leaf, some salt/parsley/pinch of pepper. Bring to boil and then simmer at least 1 hour. If you want to make your own cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole, while you get your stock going, prep your mushrooms. Add mushroom stalks to the stock pot and slice the caps. Save in fridge until tomorrow. Cool the stock, and freeze.


The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

It's all Winnie the Pooh and Records around here right now. The wee one turned 2 yesterday, and we are having a family party on Sunday with the theme of Winnie the Pooh and Records. Now that you've rolled your eyes and just put me in that "Oh one of those moms pinteresting parties to feel in control and give a shine to life." Well it's not like that. When i was little, my family only did one big party with friends - when you turned 5 - but that didn't mean that I didn't dream and plan and flip through my mom's book of "Celebrations" looking for decor, food and game ideas. This is in my blood. I love party planning. Also - every year my mom made me an amazing cake, until I took over in 5th or 6th grade. Those were cakes of lore. Not always perfect, I woudl make them perfect. With as many toothpicks as that required. We couldn't even cut the cake one year due to all the toothpicks. And funny enough, I am listening to the perfect song for this diatribe, "Perfect" by gobbinjr. Throwing that on the playlist.

All right people, let's all pick ourselves up by the Pooh Ear Party Hats and shake this week off. This is a rough year - especially in music. I'm not a huge Leonard Cohen fan, but I do like his music and I would be completely oblivious if I didn't know the impact of him on the music I do obsess about. And that is a large vacuum left in the fabric of our modern music scene. Again. For the billionth time this year. Speaking of people it sucked to lose this year, A Tribe Called Quest released We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service. Electronic noisey fun Sleigh Bells released Jessica Rabbit. We have a set of old recordings being released today: Leon Redbone, Long Way From Home; Bob Dylan, The 1966 Live Recordings; and Pink Floyd, The Early Years 1965-1972. You have to look up the Pink Floyd one. It's crazy - 36 discs or something, there's Blu-ray and audio, it's all packaged in this boxset that looks like their tour bus. Seriously, that's crazy. And amazing. All right and to round out our releases today, we have a bunch of solo albums from people know for work in other things: Kim Gordon's Body/Head (yes, Sonic Youth is no more but still including it) released No Waves; Notwist frontman Markus Archer, A Beat of Silence; Tame Impala/Pond member Jay Watson's GUM, Flash in the Pan; Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins, KOTA; Here Go Magic frontman Luke Temple, A Hand Through The Cellar Door; and Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis is Sad13, Slugger.

The List previously of The List.

I think these go together, theme: reluctance?

Cameron AG, Homeward Bound - this is the most optimistic of the group I think, but still some relunctancy to the groove, namely on "In Repeat"

Covenant, The Blinding Dark - This is the moodiest of them all with a low male vocal and all

The Darcys, Centerfold  - so this has more pop to it and upbeat, but I  picked the song for the playlist that best represents my thought processs

Fwar, Sanctuary - Keeping that upbeat feel but with that twinge of something's not right to it.

Junk Son, Beginning, Ending, Pretending

Lambchop, FLOTUS - You know I'm dedicated to the topic when I listen to an autotuney track. "Howe" best fits the groove of the list

Slow Hollows, Romantic - this gets a little more 90s alt rock scene than all the others, but still has that forlorn or reluctant feel to it. Somehow optimistically sad at the same time to my ears.

So there's the list, I'll pile a bunch of other songs that caught my ear this last week on the Spotify playlist, but it's headed up by my picks for the Reluctancy List above. And now, party planning time. It's party heaven here. Winnie the Pooh and Records on Sunday, next Saturday is PreThanksgiving, and then it's actually Thanksgiving, and then it's another birthday party, and then.... Well you get the idea. PARTY. It's more the gathering of it all that I love. Community. It's a good thing. Anyway, we're also not too long from the Christmas Album List for this year. I'll put that up first week of December and update it as needed. There are some goodies this year... Until next week, Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

CANDYYYYYYY! It's National Candy Day. So I'm going to eat some candy while I drink my coffee and write this here Refrain. It is beautiful out and I'm starting to regret that I made plans for a 4:00 movie today. I mean, who thought it would be 70 in Minnesota in November? Not me. (well sometimes, not really surprised, I mean, we haven't hit freezing yet) Hopefully a Half Pints will appear magically this week, but my co-host is under the weather so we couldn't record last night. But I did live tweet albums I liked on our twitter account, @halfpints, but I'll probably also mention those bands later, so it might be redundant but... whatever anyway. That was just going to become circular.

RELEASES OF TODAY. Bon Jovi is back with This House Is Not For Sale. English singer-songwriter Shirley Collins returns after 30 years with her album, Lodestar. Staying across the pond for a moment, Susan Boyle releases A Wonderful World today. A couple rap/hip-hop releases: A$AP Mob with Cozy Tapes, Vol. 1: Friends and Talib Kweli with Awful People Are Great At Parties. Former lead singer of Mazzy Star Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions release Until the Hunter. Alicia Keys is Here. Billboard charters The Chainsmokers return this year with Collage EP. Lead singer of My Morning Jacket (and household favorite) Jim James released Eternally Even. And Netflix original series The Beat Bugs release their Best of Season 1 & 2 which I am going to check out as soon as I'm done with Sarah & Duck, the best cartoon ever.

Sarah & The List. Quack. (you'd get it if you watched the intro of the show.)

So... someone woke up early. Which means I'm just going to list my Liked pile:

Twin Limb, Haplo - Cat Power vibe to her voice for sure

The Wind And The Wave, Happiness is not a Place - poppier fun and sweet

The Olympians, The Olympians - amazing instrumental soul

Nina Diaz, The Beat is Dead - It's got some teeth this album.

Miniature Tigers, I Dreamt I Was A Cowboy - Another one I tweeted, this is just fun rock

Mannequin Pussy, Romantic - rock.

Madness, Can't Touch Us Now - another rock one.

The Legal Matters, Conrad - okay this is getting hard to do. Describing, while handling the wee one on my lap eating toast as he tells me "Yeah" or "No. No. Done." to albums I am sampling.

Muuy Biien, Age Of Uncertainty

Pyur, Epoch Sinus

Noiserv, 00:00:00:00

GFOTY, Call Him A Doctor

Future States, Casual Listener

Car Bomb, Meta

Lara Downes, America Again

Slothrust, Everyone Else

Honeyblood, Babes Never Die

Casper Skulls, Lips & Skull

Brandt Brauer Frick, Joy

Sorry about that at the end there. Just want to get this posted today. I'll post a spotify list later this weekend, so follow bunkamade on Spotify or check back here for the update. Until then, Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Two Saturdays in a row? What a treat! Well, last night was my fall recital - Halloween themed and everything. It was a hit and a lot of fun. Can't wait to do another one in a couple of years. All right, are you ready?

It's beginning to look a lot like the Christmas season is coming up. More albums have piled up under the Christmas Album Christmas Tree: She & Him, Christmas Party, Neil Diamond, Acoustic Christmas; Kacey Musgraves, A Very Kacey Christmas; Tommy Emmanuel, Christmas Memories; Jimmy Buffett, Tis The Season, and Jennifer Nettles, to Celebrate Christmas. Also released yesterday, Lou Barlow  and Apocalypse Fetish. Nada Surf with Peaceful Ghosts. Pussy Riot are back with a 3 song, xxx and I believe it has something to do with politics. Tove Lo returns with Lady Wood. Kenny Chesney has a Cosmic Hallelujah. Fujiya & Miyagi release EP2. Empire of the Sun bring the dance with Two Vines. Dee Snider has a solo album, We Are The Ones. Charli XCX released the single, "After The Afterparty." And Avenged Sevenfold round out the big releases with The Stage. (At least that's what I'm going with.)

Trick or Treat Smell My Feet This is What Last Week's List Smelled Like.

Things I Liked or Might Like when I get another listen:

Piers Faccini, I Dreamed An Island - This is a singer-songwriter with an worldly twist to his guitarering. Yeah, I just made up a new word. Guitarering: How one plays the guitar and yes, Raulie, I'm going to go write it in the Bunka Scrabble Dictionary as soon as I'm done with this.

John K. Samson, Winter Wheat - Singer-songwriter with a band this one is.

Pelander, Time - This is the dude from Witchcraft with an acoustic singer-songwriter vibe album. You know, sometimes I just get into a sound and it's just the thing I like that week.

Hooton Tennis Club, Big Box Of Chocolates - upbeat CA rock guitar tones and such.

Beef Jerk, Tragic - I think there's somethig tongue in cheek about this band? It's good, it's been out for a year in Australia but just came out in the U.S.

Joshua Breakstone, 88 - Guitar jazz. The sweet crisp tone of his guitarering is pretty nice.

Weyes Blood, Front Row Seat To Earth - this sort of slow burning music isn't always my jam but I find her voice inviting. I just have a hard time sitting still these days.

Streets of Laredo, Wild - This falls under my Grouplove/Cage the Elephant/Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Fields umbrella.

Savoy Motel, Savoy Motel - these guys like T. Rex. A lot. But somehow I just kept listening, and soon I was at the end of the album and hadn't realized it. So, there's something there.

The Radio Dept., Running Out Of Love - that 80s pop dance sound I like with the reverb/echoy vocals.

Maker, Maker Vs Now-Again 3 -  this is a fun album to put on any weekend night

Joan As PoliceWoman, Let It Be You - this album has many sides to it as a singer-songwriter with a groove.

The Fat Babies, Solid Gassuh - I'm a sucker for 20's/30's jazz.

 Ecos De Borinquen, El Alma De Puerto Rico: Jibaro Tradition - Oh this is good, but isn't most things from the Smithsonian Folkways?

Communist Daughter, The Cracks That Built The Wall - of the Minneapolis scene, this is a good band to delve those feelings into.

Bruce Williams, Private Thoughts - A different sort of jazz than earlier noted, this one is more of the modern sort

The Blind Shake, Celebrate Your Worth - good old rock

ESP Ohio, Royal Cyclopean - I'll probaby be told I'm wrong but I think if you like Robert Pollard you should check this out.

So I wasn't going to do a list, and then I decided to. Then the boy woke up. Then I made a snake calzone and the dough seam ripped leaving snake guts spiling out which made it even more awesomely Halloweeny. There were many things that happened between when I started this and when it ended. Mainly to say, had I just decided not to do the list, this would have been up hours and hours ago. But then you wouldn't know I pretty much love 20's/30's jazz and that you need to put on Maker vs. Now-Again 3 right now and with that my friends, Happy Listening!

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